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Taking a Friend's Prescription Can Have Serious Consequences

Many Colorado students, as well as adults in the community, do not realize that taking a friend's prescription medicine can result in serious criminal changes. School suspension can also result from sharing a prescription medication.

For example, a Colorado college student with leftover prescription Percocet following a knee surgery might think it is okay to share a couple pills with a roommate who has just has a root canal and is in pain. However, if the students are caught sharing the prescription by a resident advisor or law enforcement, a Boulder college student drug charge could result.

Colorado law makes it illegal for a person to knowingly possess a controlled substance. Percocet contains Oxycodone (an opiate used to relieve moderate to severe pain) and acetaminophen. Oxycodone is a controlled substance. If the unsuspecting student was caught in possession of several Percocet pills without a prescription, he or she could be charged with a felony.

The severity of the felony charge is based on the weight of the pills. Less than one gram is a class 6 felony. More than one gram is charged out as a class 4 felony. If, for instance, several pills weighed 1.03 grams the more serious charge could be filed by the prosecutor.

Schools Zero-Tolerance Policies

The problem of prescription drug sharing is not unique to college students. Many schools have also added zero-tolerance policies to combat the sharing of prescriptions between younger students.

Recently, a 13-year-old Colorado middle school student was suspended for 10 days after sharing her inhaler. The young girl's friend began to have an asthma attack after running in gym class. The friend's inhaler had run out, so she shared her inhaler after her friend motioned she could not breathe.

For the student trying to help a classmate, suspension came as a surprise. However, schools are trying to avoid dangerous situations that might arise when students share prescription medication.

The penalties that can come from a seemingly innocent act of helping a friend by sharing medicine can be severe and should discourage anyone from sharing prescription medication.

Source: KOAA.com, "13-year-old suspended for sharing inhaler," Carolyn Carver, Jan. 26, 2012.

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