I have a defendant that was stopped and was found to be in possession of a few Xanax pills in a baggie in his wallet. He (apparently) has a prescription for said Xanax. My understanding has always been that it needs to remain in the correctly labeled bottle, but i cannot seem to find any statutory basis for this requirement. so my questions are this:
1. is it actually illegal to possess a controlled substance with a valid perscription if it is not in the bottle.
2. if it is illegal, on what statutory or legal basis?
If you don't have the drugs in the right bottle, you're way more likely to have a cop arrest you. But it's not illegal to carry your drugs you legally possess via an Rx in a plastic bag or in your pocket, etc.
Jon is correct. Many senior citizens carry their medication in plastic containers divided by days to make it easier to remember what to take and when to take them. Keeping the pills in their bottles does not guarantee that the pills were part of the original prescription. Pill addicts will use up what is prescribed way ahead of time, buy more off the street, and put those in the bottles to make it look like legit. To be sure of a POCS or possession of dangerous drug case that involves commercially manufactured pills the prosecutor is basically relying on whether or not the defense can produce verifiable documentation of a prescription. Like firearm registration there is no general data base where one can go to find out if a prescription was issued.
The Eastland court mentioned this issue in passing in the case below. State's PDR granted but the issue the CCA will be reviewing does not involve this issue.
"At oral argument, the State represented that it was illegal to carry prescribed medications outside of its original container as it was delivered by the pharmacist. We have not been able to locate such a law."
Burnett v. State, 488 S.W.3d 913, 920 (Tex. App.—Eastland 2016, pet. granted)
See if the defense attorney will bring the prescription or the bottle to you. You can check to see if the pills prescribed were the same ones that the defendant had in their possession. The prescription from the pharmacy will state what type of pills were dispensed. While the defendant might have had a prescription for Xanax the pills in their possession could have came from a different manufacturer. Just handled a case where the defendant was in possession of the drug, had a prescription, but we were able to show that the pills dispensed were not the same ones that she had in her possession due to the pills being manufactured by different companies.
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