Ask the Experts

I Shared My Medication With a Friend. Now What?

“I am a freshman in college, and I shared one of my ADHD stimulants with a close friend, who begged me for it. I knew it wasn’t the right thing to do, but our friendship trumped that concern. The problem is, he told others that I let him have one of my pills, and now they are bugging me for them. Should I talk to my school counselor and come clean to avoid getting into trouble?”

Giving medication that is prescribed for you to anyone else is illegal, but it is unlikely that a single transgression involving a single pill will have legal consequences for you.

However, there is no benefit, and there is possibly some minimal risk to you, in sharing this information with a school counselor. “Coming clean” in this situation does not change the fact of your misconduct, however minor. Depending on the counselor’s qualifications and your relationship, your communications with the counselor may not be privileged. This means the counselor may be required to divulge them to the school, the police, or in court. Again, this is highly unlikely, but why take the chance?

Make sure you don’t share medication again. In addition to the legal and ethical issues involved, ADHD stimulants are called “controlled substances” because of their potential for side effects. They can do harm to individuals who are not under the supervision of a physician. Take steps to secure your medication, so others can’t get it. The legal ramifications of a single mistake are less than those that will likely occur if you become a regular source of medication for your classmates. Even if no money is exchanged, sharing your medication is, technically, “dealing drugs,” and anyone who expects you to do it isn’t a true friend.