How to carry my meds?

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Date Joined Dec 2005
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   Posted 5/20/2009 1:00 PM (GMT -6)   
Hey Guys;

I usually post in the crohn's disease section, but think maybe you guys can help me with this one.

I have been using mscontin, and msir(morphine sulfate instant release) for several years now. I have not had any problems until yesterday. My question concerns getting pulled over by the police, or being in a vehicle that gets pulled over by the police, while I have my meds with me.

I usually carry my meds in a small pill box. This helps me keep track of just how many pills I have taken, and how many I need to take. I am sure you guys can relate. Yesterday when I got pulled over, the police officer seen me go past him, and turned around with the lights on. Apparently I was not wearing my seatbelt, and it doesn't count if you snap it on as you are getting pulled over, or so I will see when I go to court. I think something happened in my small town, next to a big city. The police asked me to get out, and kept asking me about weapons. They searched me, and my car, I told them I don't own any guns. Then he asked about the can of kodiak I carry with me, and I emptied my pockets. He looked at my pills, and asked me what they were, I named them off. He said he could arrest me for a drug charge, and said he would arrest me if I did not have my pills in the bottles with my name on them next time. The only problem is I can't carry all my pills around in the bottles, they won't all fit in my pockets, and I am semi worried that they may get stolen.

So my question is, what do I carry with me, what do you guys carry around with you when you go run errands, or just go to the park to fish?

The empty pill bottles, with my name on them, in a ziplock, and a description of the pill on the bottle?
A printed out prescription history?

P.S. The police officer held my driver's license, and gave me a ticket for seatbelt. Only now I can't pickup any future prescriptions without an ID, or until I go to court, and get this ticket dropped. Not sure what I will do about this one.

Thanks for the help;

CD dx @ 13 (1987)
Prednisone 20mg every other day
Phenergen PRN
Zantac 150 - Twice Day
Pain Meds

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Date Joined Jan 2005
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   Posted 5/20/2009 1:38 PM (GMT -6)   
WOW, home boy...what a mess! When I get backed into a corner like this I come out fighting....but I always do my research and thinking first. Some serious I too carry my pills (Oxycontin and percocet) around in a small round container in my purse. Also in there are some of hubby's meds but his are not narcotic.

It does sound like your town/county is out to get someone or something under control but to bully good citizens is NOT necessary. He could have told you in a polite way about the pill problem and offered a solution. A couple of things you might do. First, talk to the doc who writes the prescriptions and he can give you a letter for you to carry stating what they are and why you take them. My understand is that airports, etc will accept a letter. I would think the cops would too. Also, put some empty bottles in your clove box in a zip bag so if you need them they are there. Maybe leave 1 pill in each bottle.

Other than that I'm not sure what you can do to prevent this. But about this issue, I would do some letter writing big time. In my family they kid me about who gets the next "letter of the month" When I have a problem with a product or service I write a polite yet pointed letter. You'd be aghast at how many apologies and freebies I've gotten over the years with an honest letter of complaint. You may not want to mail these letter until after your court date...but you judgment would be best on that call. I'd write to the head of his police department, at least 2 of my local legislators, the state level of the police and to your state medical governing body. One letter copies and readdressed to these folks will work. In fact, the legislators all have web pages and if you write to one they usually ask if you want a copy sent to all of your other legislators for your district.

I'm very interested in how this all comes out for you because all of us deal with this. I don't remember anyone talking about it but we sure need to.

Thanks for the post,
Co-Moderator Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain Forums
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Date Joined Nov 2006
Total Posts : 1899
   Posted 5/20/2009 4:57 PM (GMT -6)   
Hey Homer!!!
When I get my scrit's the always come with a print out. On the print out there are two small card sized papers w/ my name the prescription number and med along with the date. Each time I get a refill, I take one of them and replace it with the previous months which I keep in my wallet. I've been stopped twice over the years and both times I had one of those metal pill bottles you hook on your key chain. Both times the policeman saw it and asked what was in it. I told him and also told him the paperwork / prescriptions were in my wallet. Both times it was good enough for the cops! The paperwork also has a description of the color, size & markings of the pill on it. I thought and still do think thats good enough unless you happen to get a real winner pulling you over!
Good Luck!
Your Friend.
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Jim M
Regular Member

Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 47
   Posted 5/20/2009 6:13 PM (GMT -6)   
What I do is,
1. Keep my last Refill Bottles
2. Put my daily dose in the last Prescription bottle
3. Repeat the process over when I get a refill
So if I get pulled over, I have bottles with my name on them.
The bottles have a description of what the pills look like on them.
There is no getting out of it in MO and KS. They have to be in the bottle.
I have yet to be pulled over. But if I do, I'll  show the bottle.
I refuse as well to carry my entire bottles with me.
Hope that helps....

Regular Member

Date Joined Jul 2008
Total Posts : 243
   Posted 5/21/2009 5:07 AM (GMT -6)   
I'm a curious sort.. how did you get home after being stopped, since the officer held your drivers license?

Veteran Member

Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 773
   Posted 5/21/2009 7:26 AM (GMT -6)   

I was thinking the same thing as Bionic....why did they take your license? In AZ we get a huge fine for not wearing seat belts BUT they cannot pull you over for that, there has to be another reason and then they can slap you with both fines!

Everyone has given great advice!

Let us know how this gets resolved, hope it all works out!


Veteran Member

Date Joined Dec 2007
Total Posts : 1235
   Posted 5/21/2009 7:54 AM (GMT -6)   
In my state, you must have the pills in a bottle with a current label on them. The pharmacy can give you smaller bottles with a duplicate label for them to carry your meds around in.
My husband is also a police officer, and it is illegal in almost all states to carry narcotic medications around with you, without a labeled bottle.
As far as pulling you over for not having a seat belt on goes, I know that right now, many states are having a seat belt enforcement program going on, especially around the start of warm weather and prom season.
In NYS, it is illegal to drive and take medication that may cause impairment and can result in your being arrested for dwai ( driving while ability impaired) if it appears that you may be impaired by your taking medications, narcotics or not.
Chutz, there may have been a crime committed that had the offender in a similar appearing vehicle or had the offender described as similar to Homeboy's appearance. Writing a letter , at this point, might create more problems for Homeboy than he already has. There had to be another reason that Homeboy was pulled over, maybe he was going too slow ( yes, that's illegal in almost all states), or weaving in traffic, or a tail light out, or not working.....any number of reasons could have been the reason that Homeboy got the police officer's attention...the police officer could have arrested Homeboy on the spot for not having those medications in the proper containers but he didn't, he told him that he needs to have them in the proper containers, with the proper labels instead. I know that it may not seem like the officer did him a favor, but believe me, he did.
Homeboy should call the station, and respectfully ask to speak to the officer and ask him how to go about getting his license back. He may have forgotten to return it, and it may just be that Homeboy needs to contact him about getting it I said, there may have been other things on the officers mind at that point.
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Regular Member

Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 168
   Posted 5/21/2009 11:35 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi HomeBoy,

Everyone is correct as far as the Federal law requiring meds to be in the pharmacy bottle as prescribed. Jim M. has an excellent solution. We all know the problems of carrying your entire supply of pain meds around with you. It just doesn't make sense. But if you carry one tablet in the appropriate bottle and then have a small supply (no more than one day) in pocket or purse sized container along with the pharmacy record showing all pertinent info, a cop would be hard pressed to really pursue a charge. First of all, he alone could not issue a Federal charge for packaging. If his problem is posession, you are covered. If his problem is DUI, he would have to prove impairment. My pain doc has issued letters for others indicating that taking the meds he prescribed in the dosages he has written would not cause impairment. If you had that kind of document with you it would probably go a long way in discouraging a cop from writing a ticket, or requesting a blood or urine test.

At sounds to me as if this cop was just trying to flex his muscle. However, cops do not like to have to appear in court expecially when they know the kind of documentation you will bring. He was either having a bad day or was looking for someone else and felt he had to get you for something once he had you pulled over. I would take the matter up with the doc and the chief of police to determine the proper way for a law-abiding citizen to deal with necessary medications. Don't be afraid to report harassment.

Hope this helps,

Degenerative disc disease, 4 back surgeries, fused from L2-S1, instrumentation. Being treated for chronic pain. Oxycodone 30 mg. IR. Candidate for SCS in the future.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Dec 2005
Total Posts : 637
   Posted 5/21/2009 12:51 PM (GMT -6)   
Great replies :)

To give an idea of what I am trying to say about the small town police who pulled me over.

I live in Mississippi, but I am right next to Memphis, Tennessee, about 5 minutes of driving. I moved to Memphis, TN from a small Missouri bootheel town, I got tired of all the violence in Memphis, and then moved to Mississippi, my parents live here too, next door actually. I leave my house, and rarely lock the door. My home got broken in once, about 8 yrs. ago. I had every windown in the house wide open, and they kicked the door in, messed the place up, stole 100$ in cash, and left a 5,000$ laptop alone on the table, no problems since, and I have a good idea who it was.

I still visit memphis ALOT, all the big stores, and doctors are there. There is almost a night and day difference with crime & violence between Memphis, and the small mississippi town I live in now, even though the two are so close together. It's almost too wierd how you drive through one spot, and everything just changes. How stores get robbed over there, and it's rare for something to happen here, but it does happen. The small town mississippi police do get shot at.

I will be checking, but think that they can pull people over for no seatbelt in Mississippi. At the very least, I do wear mine now, and hope this experience keeps me wearing it. I am pretty sure they cannot get away with this in Tennessee though. I have been pulled over in Tennessee many times, and everytime I was speeding on the interstate, and guilty too. Everytime I had no seatbelt on. Every time they dropped the speeding ticket, just because I went to court, just because I showed up, and no seatbelt tickets, this is my first one ever.

Moving on;

I'm a curious sort.. how did you get home after being stopped, since the officer held your drivers license?

I asked them about that, before they left.

They replied, sure you can drive, just show the seatbelt ticket to the officer if you get pulled over again.

K, so no problem there.

I was not feeling well at all, and dreaded having to go out. The officer asked me why I seemed mad, irritated, are you nervous? I told him I have crohns disease, and have not been feeling that great today. Then I got, well why are you out driving if you are sick, and started to explain how the world does not stop spinning, but remembered to try and be respectful towards them, and even moreso towards their ignorance; A smart mouth will get me nowhere, they simply don't understand chronic illness, and proably don't care to. I sure would not want to get an earful of his problems. So; I stopped talking, and asked them if I could sit down on the curb. One officer said you can get back in your car and sit down if you like, we are just about done, so I did.

I have printed off a prescription history, and I have been keeping my pill bottles in a ziplock bag, in my glove box, all with one single pill in each bottle. The bottle also has a description of the pill on it. Walgreens does print off all kinds of labels, and little cards with my meds, I never thought to ask them about duplicates, to carry in my wallet, just incase I ride with someone else, or get in a big hurry to leave, forgetting the bottles.

Thanks for the replies, and the ideas everyone, keep um coming if you have more.

CD dx @ 13 (1987)
Prednisone 20mg every other day
Phenergen PRN
Zantac 150 - Twice Day
Pain Meds

Veteran Member

Date Joined Apr 2009
Total Posts : 536
   Posted 5/21/2009 1:03 PM (GMT -6)   
HomeBoy, I don't really have anything to add to what you have already been given by the group. It sounds like it's already been covered. Please keep us informed on how it turns out. I think we are all intetested in what happens with this.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 6795
   Posted 5/21/2009 2:38 PM (GMT -6)   
These are some really good things for all of us to remember re: traveling with our meds.

Also wanted to add PA just changed its seatbelt law and now you can be pulled over simply for not wearing the seat belt. Don't need to have another offense, which I thought was ridiculous in the first place. I sure don't have a problem wearing a seatbelt as i don't need any more health problems should i have a fender bender!


Jim M
Regular Member

Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 47
   Posted 5/21/2009 2:57 PM (GMT -6)   
In MO, The very 1st thing I say to my passengers is BUCKLE UP! IT'S THE LAW! ( Really! HAHA! My Exact Words)

Anyway, this is such QUICK REVENUE for Law Enforcement!
Here, I bet they get more $$ from Failure To Buckle Up than Speeding.
Signs on the side of the road everywhere.

If you want a ticket here, just drive down the road without buckleing up!
Then get ready for a car search!

Not wearing a seatbelt here YOU ARE A CRIMINAL! And will be treated as such!

( I would type more, but my neck and shoulder are about to fall off from typing. )

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2009
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   Posted 5/21/2009 3:01 PM (GMT -6)   
Here in Tennesee they can pull you over when you are not wearing your seatbelt. We have a saying CLick it or Ticket. Its all over the media. My dad was pulled over and he used a small metal container also. They took his pills and took him to jail. (he was acually not doing anything wrong this time) Finally the doctor faxed to his attorney the paperwork on the meds. I had to go get all this taken care odf. He still had to wait until his court date to even see the judge. Then the judge told him to carry his meds in his original prescription bottle at all times.......

Ok theres my 2 cents.......

Boy I hope you can get somewhere with this so you can have your ID back. I would do what someone said earlier call the officer and kill him with kindness.....

39 yr young female with,
Chronic Kidney Stones, PKD (Polycystic Kidney Disease), Chronic Kidney Failure, Severe Hypertension, Urological RSD
Also CHF (Congestive Heart Failure) and Sleep Apnea
Hopefully NO MORE........ I think I have it all

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Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 900
   Posted 5/21/2009 3:50 PM (GMT -6)   

Hi everyone, I just have to say "WOW!" Also I just have to add my 2 cents in. I had to call 911 the other day because I could not breath correctly. The emt's get there and ask questions as usual like they should. Then I had this one guy ask my about medications. I pointed to the table. He looked at them then he says, "What do you use the Oxycodone for?" I guess that was a logical question but I looked square in the eyes and said," Who are you, the DEA police?" "If you guys aren't or can't help me or take me to the hospital just leave." I was ornery that day.



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Date Joined Jul 2008
Total Posts : 1560
   Posted 5/21/2009 6:10 PM (GMT -6)   
OMG! I was told that if a person that is on medication drives that they can be arrested for being under the influence. I am so frightened to drive anymore because of my last accident where I rearended a car in my SUV and caused so much pain and distruction to someone else that I just almost totally quit driving. I think that its just too risky when I have a hubby that can drive me where ever I need to go.

As far as the ticket for no seatbelt...Ouch is all I can say. I've never had anyone take my licence though. I keep my meds in a current script bottle with the label current. Walmart will actually give its customers one if they ask (or at least they do here).

Anyway, so sorry you got a ticket.

What doesn't kill us only makes us fight back harder! :P

Sam Roberson Jr
Regular Member

Date Joined Apr 2009
Total Posts : 59
   Posted 5/21/2009 8:21 PM (GMT -6)   
I have read your post and I will tell you what I did when I went to see my Daughter who is attending art college in Tenn, I had your same concern, what do I do if the police pull me over plus I was crossing state lines, first I asked my Doctor what I should do and he told me to carry my pills in their bottle because all the information that law enforcement needs to confirm that they are your prescriptions is on the bottle, also I was concerned about theft as well but he had no suggestions for that, I have a fire proof lock box that I keep my pills in at home and I decided to take that with me and it just did fit underneath the front seat of my car. I hope that this helps you.
tying to make it one day at a time....corney right

Veteran Member

Date Joined Sep 2008
Total Posts : 1670
   Posted 5/21/2009 8:48 PM (GMT -6)   
Wow I'm really glad this came up because I have to travel overseas for a long weekend, and completely forgot about travelling with all my medication!!! I guess I'm going to need a letter as well as the bottles from the chemist....

Veteran Member

Date Joined Dec 2005
Total Posts : 637
   Posted 6/4/2009 1:46 PM (GMT -6)   
I went and paid my ticket. I was told many different prices by many different people. As high as 75$ plus another 90$ for court costs, if I wanted to try and dispute it.

I tried to ask at the police station about my meds, but they didn't want to hear it, or assist me, they just wanted my money, and for me to leave, quietly. Geez everybody working up there had such an attitude, and of course, not one officer in the building.

The ticket was 25$, and once paid my license was given back, but I did have to wait, and make sure they gave it back, plus sign a paper stating they gave it back. No insurance troubles, I was reassured my insurance would not go up from this from my agent.

I have invested in a state issued ID card for 10$. The police maybe could, well I suppose they can do whatever they want to do, but maybe they will not try and keep my ID card & my driver's license both, in the future, should I have another run in with the boys in blue.

There were a few people at the police station. I have lived in this little town for 10yrs. now, and this is the first time I have been. I didn't even know where it was, but now I do. All of the people in the police station were there for seatbelt tickets. I heard many stories, one guy had the police come up to him almost out of nowhere, on foot, to give him a ticket. I was the only one who had their license held, and everyone there was sorta shocked that they did that.

On a good note, I have been actually wearing my seatbelt. I still forget to do it right when I get in the car, I end up snapping in on once I am moving; a little light bulb goes off, seatbelt, seatbelt, seatbelt.
CD dx @ 13 (1987)
Prednisone 20mg every other day
Phenergen PRN
Zantac 150 - Twice Day
Pain Meds

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 900
   Posted 6/4/2009 3:12 PM (GMT -6)   
That is good news.

Regular Member

Date Joined May 2008
Total Posts : 177
   Posted 6/4/2009 6:24 PM (GMT -6)   
Glad this came up. Here in Belgium, it is sufficient to carry a handwritten document from the doctor who prescrbed the narcotics. I was told this was conform International Law and was valid worldwide. I know Singapore has a very strict narcotics policy (the States is peanuts in comparison), and such a document was sufficient. When I went to the States I always had nothing but such a document with me (we don't have special bottles in Belgium, we get our meds in the original company package). This was sufficient according to DoD and DoS (although this proves nothing). I was never pulled over but now I'm wondering what would happen if I, as foreigner, am pulled over with my pockets full of morphine and a letter written by a foreign doctor in a foreign laguage? I was told by my collegues that, should something happen (no matter what), I should tell the police to "call the Pentagon" although somehow I don't think that would improve my situation. Practicle advice would be helpful as I plan my next trip to the States in September or October (Brussels - NYC - Orlando - Denver).
To stand and be still at the Birkenhead Drill is a mighty bullet to shew.

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Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 6795
   Posted 6/4/2009 6:54 PM (GMT -6)   
If you're coming for military business I would think following the instructions of your superiors should be ok, however, it may depend on where you are in the States. I think at least having the letter translated into English would be helpful, and making sure you had a phone number that would be answered by someone who understood the situation.

There are lots of policies over here - some federal, some state. And some localities even are tightening up. Yet there's only so much you can do if you don't get the medication in marked bottles like we do.

Maybe someone else here will have some advice.


Veteran Member

Date Joined Jun 2005
Total Posts : 610
   Posted 6/4/2009 6:56 PM (GMT -6)   
In the state of Washington, my doctor had to fill out a form that I was taking narcotic pain meds to the department of licensing, and they asked me to redo my driving test (written test also) to prove I was fine to drive while taking my meds. I didnt think it was fair because lots of people told me they didnt have to do this here in WA, so I guess I'm just speacial like that lol.


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