It is illegal to carry controlled substances unless you have the printed prescription with you. We have had a number of patients arrested lately for carrying their Suboxone without the original prescription printed on the box or bottle.
Suboxone and other buprenorphine products are regularly diverted (sold illegally). All products containing buprenorphine are classified as Type III controlled substances by the DEA. Law enforcement, rightfully, works to limit the illegal sale of prescription drugs, and especially controlled substances. As a result, police officers are on the lookout for loose films and tablets without a corresponding prescription label.
We get reports from patients that are nightmarish. Patients have found themselves in car accidents that are no fault of their own but during the investigation of the crash, police will often ask to search the cars or the people involved in an accident. Patients think they have nothing to hide, they are only carrying their prescribed medication. What could go wrong? What goes wrong is that the police have no way of knowing that the Suboxone or other medications you are carrying are legitimately prescribed.
Our patients have found themselves sitting in a jail cell overnight or longer while the police and the courts work to understand that the medication found is legally and legitimately prescribed. If a patient is on parole or probation or otherwise in the “system”, the arrest by itself can often trigger further negative legal repercussions. Most of our patients do not want to discuss their treatment with their employers, but if you miss work because you in jail for carrying your Suboxone, you may find yourself needing to have an awkward discussion with your boss, who may or may not be sympathetic to your plight.
If you must carry a single film or tablet with you, you should leave the rest of your prescription at home in a safe and secure (preferably locked) place and take the original box or container with the printed prescription to carry the medication you need while away from home. If you need a copy of your printed prescription, you can always call the MATClinics office and we can send you a copy of your prescription. A copy is not ideal, but combined with your ID, it ought to be enough to satisfy law enforcement. No promises, though, any police officer could insist on a literal interpretation of the law and reject a copy.
Again, it is best if you take your medication at home, once in the morning and once at night. Some of our patients insist that they need to take their medication more frequently, and in some cases that might be true, so if you are one of those patients, please, please make sure that you are not carrying loose medication without your printed prescription.
Another solution to this problem is to think about converting from film or tablets to a once-a-month Sublocade injection. With the injection, the medication is inside of you. Diversion is effectively impossible and therefore law enforcement will have no interest in your treatment. If you are someone who only feels comfortable by taking your medication more than twice a day, Sublocade could be a great way to keep you at constant dose.
If you have any questions about managing your medication prescriptions, please call us at 410.220.0720 or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our staff and particularly our case managers are an important resource that you should always feel comfortable engaging.