Safe, legal, convenient way to carry around ADHD meds?
February 22, 2013 1:59 PM   Subscribe

I'm an adult with ADHD. I need to have my meds with me in the daytime and early evening at work/school, etc. How do I do this conveniently, securely, and legally? I can't figure out how to do all three. Snowflaky details inside.

I'm a grownup with ADHD. I started meds recently and am still on immediate release Ritalin, though I may change to Concerta soon. Ritalin works about 3 hours for me, so for an 8-9 hour workday I need 3 doses with me. I try to keep the pills on my actual person in the labeled container, but carrying the big prescription bottle of Ritalin around is kind of awkward and I'm always patting whatever pocket to make sure it hasn't fallen out. To make matters more interesting, I work in a facility where we counsel clients with substance abuse issues. So I have to keep good tabs on this stuff for all kinds of reasons. My understanding of the law is that the meds have to be kept in the original bottle all the time. There may not be a good answer to this problem, but I'd be interested in how others have handled it. Even if I start taking Concerta and need fewer pills with me, I'm still going to have to travel with it. Thanks for any input!
posted by sister nunchaku of love and mercy to Health & Fitness (25 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
You can ask your pharmacist to give you a small labeled bottle. No big deal at all.
posted by PorcineWithMe at 2:05 PM on February 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

Go to a local pharmacy and see if they can give you a small, labeled bottle to carry a daily dose around.

Rather than a large, unwieldy one, they can give you one that will fit in your pants pocket, or in your purse, or wherever it's convenient to carry it on your person.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 2:06 PM on February 22, 2013 [2 favorites]

You might want to double-check the laws in your state. It might not be illegal to carry your Ritalin in a pill reminder (for instance, a quick Google leads me to believe that it is illegal in Kentucky, but not in North Carolina [this is not legal advice!]). I just put my Ritalin into a weekly pill reminder, which helped immensely (which, because ADD!) and never had any clue this was even potentially illegal. I suspect many people on Ritalin use pill reminders.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 2:07 PM on February 22, 2013

I would be less concerned about the spectre of the law and more about people from your job finding you with unidentified pills, given your line of work.

What's your level of caring regarding coworkers knowing you take ADD meds?

"Don't care at all, we swap psychiatric warstories at lunch hour"?
"Not too concerned, but I'd rather not wave my prescription bottle around"?
"It is extremely important that nobody finds out I have ADD"?

I'd say that makes an important difference as to how you might store your pills.
posted by threeants at 2:07 PM on February 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

Do you have a drawer you can lock in your desk? Can you get a small lock box and stick that in a drawer?

I'm assuming you carry some kind of bag or purse like most women do. How do you keep that safe at work? Can you just keep you meds in your purse?

If you have a car, you could also just lock them in your glove compartment (my loved one with adult ADHD does this, but he only takes his meds once daily). You would need to go out to your car to get them, but it's less likely that the patients at your job would steal them.
posted by wansac at 2:08 PM on February 22, 2013

Your pharmacy really can give you small labeled bottles. I've done this for airplane flights. They're used to it.
posted by Sidhedevil at 2:22 PM on February 22, 2013

Response by poster: Thanks for the input so far. I forgot a couple of snowflaky details. I'm an intern till I graduate in May and I have no desk nor office of my own to lock things in. When I arrive for my day at work, I stash my backpack and stuff somewhere out of the way and hope no one bothers them. I get often kicked out of spaces that other people need and have to pack up and move my things. Oh, the life of an intern!

I don't often work directly with clients in SA therapy and recovery, but I work in the same building and on the same floor with coworkers who see many of these clients daily. It's kind of controlled chaos and many times clients wander into areas where they really aren't meant to be.

I am completely open about having ADHD and that I've started meds. My supervisor knows it, my teachers know it, and many of my fellow coworkers and students also know.

I'll ask at my pharmacy about the smaller bottle--that seems like a good idea! Also will check state law and consider car--though parking lot can be a bit dodgy if I work late.

Thanks for taking the time to read, guys.
posted by sister nunchaku of love and mercy at 2:34 PM on February 22, 2013

If you do discover you can put your Ritalin in a pill reminder, I recommend one of these, it fits in a pocket way better than the long, narrow ones (so you don't have to leave your pills unattended in your bag).
posted by rabbitrabbit at 2:43 PM on February 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

Question for the group - will a mail order pharmacy also do this?
posted by tilde at 2:48 PM on February 22, 2013

I really don't think you need to keep them in the original containers, that sounds absurd. I always have a small pill thing in my bag - it's one of those daily reminder containers but I have each one stocked with Tylenol, Sudafed, etc plus a couple prescriptions that I take as-needed. I've never given it a second thought.

If you want to keep it on your person, there are small containers at the drug store meant just for this.
posted by radioamy at 3:08 PM on February 22, 2013

If you don't need a label, maybe something like this would work. That way, it's both convenient and secure - nobody's going to take it off your neck without you knowing about it. You could also probably find a nicer looking one.
posted by sarae at 3:12 PM on February 22, 2013

Wow. It never even occurred to me to worry about this, though the nature of your job definitely seems reason for extra caution. I am prescribed adderall xr and when I travel I just put the meds in the same small container as my random OTC drugs (ibuprofen, antacids, antihistamines, etc.). Nobody has ever searched down to that level, not even in airports. If I were you my main concern would be more one of "make sure I don't lose/drop any pills" vs. "make sure I don't get caught with my legitimately prescribed medications". Thus, asking for a smaller bottle might be your best bet, as some have suggested.
posted by aecorwin at 3:15 PM on February 22, 2013

I carry mine in a pill box in my purse or in a pocket. It's no one's business what I've got, I have a copy of the Rx in my wallet and that's that. It's a Schedule C medication, not heroin.
posted by Ideefixe at 3:41 PM on February 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

I've got this thing which I carry in my purse (though obviously it's a keychain so you could do that, and it's not too big... I just don't do that because my kid likes to play with my keys and it's not childproof). Way better than carrying prescription bottle and nobody would know. We got it at local drugstore for like $4-$5.
posted by agress at 4:13 PM on February 22, 2013

My Ritalin comes in blister packs, not in a bottle. Every night I snip out two squares and tuck them into a pocket in my makeup bag. That way they are still in the original packaging so they don't deteriorate and can be identified.

It never occurred to me to carry them any other way, actually. I didn't realize this was a thing.
posted by tel3path at 4:55 PM on February 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

For travel, I think carrying a copy of your prescription should suffice - that's been all I've needed, and my pills were in an unlabeled container (which held a mix of pills, not a good thing to do.)
posted by anadem at 5:15 PM on February 22, 2013

I have several of these which fit in my pocket or bag and keep my allergy pills dry. It did survive a trip through the washer.
(A 35mm film canister would also work although, these days, most people might find those suspect)
posted by jaimystery at 6:03 PM on February 22, 2013

Can your pharmacy print out a copy of your prescription? Whenever my pharmacy fills a script, they create a separate printout with all the information that would appear on the pill bottle. When I travel, I just put the pills into a pill box and carry the printout in case there are any questions.
posted by theBigRedKittyPurrs at 7:50 PM on February 22, 2013

If you were "required by law" to keep the pills in their original container, how could you ever take them? What if you dropped one after you took it out of the bottle? And it rolled somewhere (in your house, or worse on the job) where you couldn't retrieve it? Are you liable to be arrested?
posted by telstar at 2:52 AM on February 23, 2013

Get your pharmacy to print you out another label to stick on or in whatever small container you like. Personally I'd buy the small pill box that Ideefixe linked to and stick the label on the inside of the lid.

I think having the label on the inside makes it less obvious to lurkers what you're carrying which might be a plus in your situation. While that container is small enough to easily see how many pills are in it for keeping track and would totally slide into a jeans pocket or similar securely.
posted by shelleycat at 3:09 AM on February 23, 2013

You could call the police and ask them.
posted by Melsky at 4:02 AM on February 23, 2013

I am on Concerta plus I keep Ritalin around for when I need something faster acting. I use a key chain pill holder like this:
posted by bpm140 at 4:25 AM on February 23, 2013

Response by poster: Thanks for all your responses. I realize I'm just speculating till I find out what the law in my state is. I've been looking without much luck. I'll ask the pharmacist. I also realize that there are kinda two issues here--compliance with the law and the necessity of securing the stuff at work. (I don't always have pockets at my disposal, alas.) In the meantime, carrying a copy of the script and getting the little bottle seem like excellent ideas, as well as the teeny bottle on a neck chain. I'm also really looking forward to having an office again so I can keep laptop, wallet, etc. safe as well. Love my internship site, but keeping organized without any space to call your own is hard enough even without ADHD.

Again, thanks!
posted by sister nunchaku of love and mercy at 7:59 AM on February 23, 2013

Get a Chinese silk neck purse and carry them in there. I use a neck purse to carry my office keys and ID card.
posted by tel3path at 2:25 PM on February 23, 2013

1- Usually the laws for illegal possession of these substances require more than a single dose or two to qualify for any kind of bad punishment. One or two Ritalins might not even be a fineable offense, or if it is, it's just a ticket. This is not legal advice, of course, but I wouldn't worry too much.

2- Which you would then be able to successfully get out of by presenting the court with a copy of your prescription, or the medicine bottle.

3- The easiest solution seems to be to wear clothing that has at least one pocket.
posted by gjc at 6:10 PM on February 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

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