Contributor: W. Travis Stewart, LPC, NCC writer for Addiction Hope
The 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health reported that more than 1,600 teens begin abusing prescription drugs each day and the non-profit organization DoSomething.org reports that the United States represents 5% of the world’s population and 75% of prescription drugs taken. It also reports that 60% of teens who abuse prescription drugs get them free from friends and relatives.  With these these statistics in mind it would not be surprising for someone to ask you to use or borrow one of your prescription pills.
Sharing Medication is Illegal
This situation can be difficult to handle, not to mention land you in potential legal trouble. Distributing prescription medication to someone else is a federal offense which could lead to a $5,000 fine, a year in prison, or both. 
There could be a variety of scenarios in which someone asks to use your prescription which would make it difficult to say no, including someone bullying you or someone in a position of more power than you. Additionally, you may be trying to make new friends, fit in with a new group or trying to gain the attention of a romantic interest. In any of these situations you may find yourself having a hard time saying no. Before I give you some tips on how to handle this, keep in mind that the core issue is self-confidence. Your ability to say know will increase as you are more confident in who you are. Confidence is also very attractive.
Here are some things you can say in this situation:
- “You are putting me in a really awkward situation. I don’t appreciate that.”
- “I value our friendship too much to let something like this complicate it.”
- “Wow. I’m surprised you would ask to use one of my pills.”
- “If I give you one of mine I will run out before I go to the doctor again.”
- “My parents count my pills. They will know if I’m missing one”
- “I have heard of people who died from using someone else’s prescription. I’m not willing to take that risk.”
- “Wow. Are you willing to risk our friendship over a pill?”
- “I’m only given a few at a time by my doctor. She will know if any are missing.”
Or, you can simply be straightforward in saying no. You don’t have to explain yourself or your decision. Say “no” and walk away. Here are some ways to say “no.”
- “Seriously? No.”
- “Let me think about that for a minute…no.”
- “Um… no”
- “Not a chance.”
If you want to have a little attitude you can try something like this:
- “I’d rather not do something that is a federal crime.”
- “Are you familiar with The Controlled Substances Act of Title 21 Food and Drug Administration U.S. Code 13 for Drug Abuse Prevention and Control, and the 1986 Subsection of. Pub. L. 99-570? Go read that and then come back and ask me.”
Community Discussion – Share your thoughts here!
Have you experience someone asking you for your prescription medications? What was your response?
About the author:
Travis Stewart has been mentoring others since 1992 and became a Licensed Professional Counselor in 2005. His counseling approach is relational and creative, helping people understand their story while also building hope for the future.
Travis has experience with a wide variety of issues which might lead people to seek out professional counseling help. This includes special interest in helping those with compulsive and addictive behaviors such as internet and screen addiction, eating disorders, anxiety and perfectionism.
Travis graduated from the University of Nebraska in 1991 with a degree in advertising and immediately began working with the international ministry of The Navigators, mentoring students. After 8 years, his desire to better understand how people change, and through his own experience of receiving help from a professional counselor, Travis decided to return to school. He earned a Master of Arts in Counseling (2001) and a Master of Arts in Theological Studies (2003), both from Covenant Seminary in St. Louis, MO. Travis is a Licensed Professional Counselor in the State of Missouri.
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Results from the 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Summary of National Findings, NSDUH Series H-48, HHS Publication No. (SMA) 14-4863. Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2014.
Last Updated & Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on August 24, 2015. Published on AddictionHope.com