My family member has a prescription for methamphetamines. Will I be charged with meth possession if I handle the drugs for them?

Posted by Neil Shouse | Oct 10, 2016 | 0 Comments

Methamphetamine--or "crystal meth"--is seen as a dangerous illegal drug. You face misdemeanor (in most cases) penalties for simple possession of methamphetamine under California Health and Safety Code 11377 HS.

At the same time, though, methamphetamine is sometimes prescribed by doctors to treat certain challenging medical conditions. For example, the drug Desoxyn (a form of meth) can be prescribed legally to treat either obesity or attention deficit disorder (ADD). Prescription-holders can possess--and use--these forms of meth without being charged with HS 11377.

But what if your elderly parent, child, or another family member has been prescribed methamphetamine for a medical condition? Do you need to worry about California drug charges if you end up handling the drug for them?

The answer, fortunately, is no. California Health and Safety Code 11377 HS addresses precisely this situation. It clarifies that you are not guilty of methamphetamine possession if you possess methamphetamine under the following conditions:

  1. At the direction of or with the explicit authorization of someone who has a valid prescription for it, and
  2. With the sole intent of either delivering the methamphetamine to that person, or discarding it for them in a lawful manner.

But note that this exception only applies if you do not use the prescription methamphetamine yourself. If you do, you will be subject to penalties under California's drug laws for doing so.

About the Author

Neil Shouse

A former Los Angeles prosecutor, attorney Neil Shouse graduated with honors from UC Berkeley and Harvard Law School (and completed additional graduate studies at MIT). He has been featured on CNN, Good Morning America, Dr Phil, Court TV, The Today Show and Court TV. Mr Shouse has been recognized by the National Trial Lawyers as one of the Top 100 Criminal and Top 100 Civil Attorneys.


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