Prescription drugs are controlled substances, which means that only doctors, pharmacists and other medical professionals have the right to recommend and distribute them. You probably already know that if you sell your prescription medication to someone else or if you buy someone else’s prescription pills, you could get charged with a crime under Georgia drug laws.

What you may not realize is that you could potentially face criminal charges for behaviors that you think are reasonable and appropriate. Learning two common mistakes that people make that could lead to prescription drug charges can help you make better decisions.

Giving away unused pills to someone else

Under controlled substances statutes, only the person with a valid prescription has the right to possess or consume the drug. Just because you paid for it at the pharmacy doesn’t mean you can do whatever you want with it. If you have leftover pills, there are safe disposal locations where you can return them. Giving those pills to someone else, even without financial gain, can constitute a crime.

Taking drugs irresponsibly could also lead to charges

When your doctor prescribed the drug to you, they told you how to take it, the dose to use and reasons that you might want to stop taking it. They may have warned you about certain limits on your behavior, such as not operating heavy machinery or driving after taking the medication.

If you get caught taking a drug inappropriately, such as taking multiple pills more than you should get a single time or administering the drug in a way to make it recreational, you could face criminal charges for that. Additionally, even though you have a prescription for it, if the drug affects your ability to drive, you could also face drugged driving charges if you get behind the wheel of a vehicle after taking the medication.

Erring on the side of caution when using and disposing of prescribed medication can help you avoid some of these risks.