It is illegal to "borrow" prescription medication from someone else, and yet it is something teens do often. In many cases, they may not even realize that using someone else's drugs is illegal. They assume that the other person got them legally, with a prescription, so they're not breaking the law.
That's certainly a misconception, and it could lead to serious legal trouble. It gets worse if money changes hands and the drugs are sold.
Studies have shown that the two most common types of medications that teens lend out or give away are stimulants and opioids. For instance, those who struggle with ADHD may have been prescribed stimulants, while those dealing with significant pain -- after surgery, for example -- may be using opioids.
So, if it is illegal, why do teens lend drugs to others? There are numerous reasons, one of which was noted above: They just do not understand that they are breaking the law. If they knew, they wouldn't do it.
Another reason is peer pressure. When someone else asks for the medication, they feel obligated to go along. Remember that teens are very susepible to peer pressure because they always feel an intense desire to fit in and be accepted. Losing friends may feel worse than participating in risky and even illegal behavior.
Third, many teens honestly do want to help their friends. Someone with ADHD may tell a friend, who has never been diagnosed, that he or she shows the same symptoms and could have the disorder. That person may then loan some of the medication to that friend to see if it helps. Nothing malicious was ever intended, but the law was broken anyway.
When a teen faces drug charges, he or she could be looking at strict penalties, including fines and jail time. These can impact a young person's entire future. It is critical for the teen and his or her parents to know all of the legal options that exist.
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