How can I travel with my prescription medications to a music festival?
June 8, 2014 7:33 PM   Subscribe

I have a variety of health problems; in addition to my asthma inhalers and such, I take about 5 or 6 different prescription medications multiple daily. Several of these are scheduled drugs (things like sedatives mostly) that I need to carry with me at all times. If I do not take them regularly I'm at risk of seizures....

Obviously it is not ever even close to practical for me to carry around 6 large prescriptions bottles with me every time I leave the house. It is not discrete, sensitive, or professional. I am under the impression that it is illegal to transfer scheduled drugs to a container other than your original prescription bottle EVEN IF YOU HAVE THE ORIGINAL PHARMACY PRINTOUTS.

Now, I would like to imagine that in most instances the police would be reasonable in selectively enforcing this insane, nonsensical law unless there was reason to believe you were a drug dealer or something. But I have a clean record and I really don't need a possession charge for something I am legitimately prescribed and require to live my life. Even the case was dropped I'm out thousands in lawyers fees.

If I seem to be catastrophizing about this, it's because I'm driving out of state to a music festival in a few weeks and this ain't my first time at the rodeo: there are pretty much guaranteed to be swarms of bicycle cops searching cars for the faintest hint of a pill or joint or beer (because what would be a music fest without a monopoly on $12 bud lites?).

So how do I do this? I don't have an issue with putting a few days worth of pills in each of the original containers and putting them in my center console, but I need to take each of these 6 different pills up to four times daily. I paid good money to enjoy myself at this place and it would not be feasible to excuse myself and walk back to my car every three hours. Not to mention some of these are as needed, so if I need to take one in the middle of a main act, I get to lose my place in the crowd and miss half the show? no thanks. A lot of these places don't even let you back in after you go through security.
posted by WhitenoisE to Law & Government (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I don't understand why it's impractical to carry around 6 prescription bottles, even 6 large bottles. Does this festival not allow backpacks/tote bags?
posted by muddgirl at 7:43 PM on June 8, 2014 [5 favorites]

Fanny pack / belly bag?
posted by Jacqueline at 7:50 PM on June 8, 2014

Can you contact your doctor/pharmacy to see if they can give you a small bottle for each with all of the labels the big bottles have? They'd be much easier to put in a bag/other container.
posted by HermitDog at 7:53 PM on June 8, 2014 [10 favorites]

If it's an issue of being discreet and efficient, I'm thinking reuse a cardboard 6-pack inside a backpack. Each bottle goes in a different section of the 6-pack. Additionally, you could glue or emboss something on the lids of the bottles so you can identify them by feel. (But really, I don't think anyone would stand out by popping pills at a music festival).
posted by muddgirl at 7:57 PM on June 8, 2014

Most pharmacies will put your pills in blister packs with the script info labeled on them. Talk to your pharmacist and see if they can hook you up with some flat blister packs for the trip.
posted by pearlybob at 8:02 PM on June 8, 2014 [21 favorites]

When I traveled abroad a few months ago with my own mini-pharmacy (including a couple of Schedule II painkillers), my pharmacy gave me smaller bottles that would be more convenient for traveling, and my doctor gave me a letter (in case anyone at customs hassled me) stating that I was under her care and am taking my prescriptions under her supervision. Check in with your pharmacist and primary case physician and explain your concerns to them, and see what they suggest.
posted by scody at 8:09 PM on June 8, 2014 [5 favorites]

Go to your pharmacy and ask them to re-dispense from your current 6 large bottles into six small ones?
posted by DarlingBri at 8:11 PM on June 8, 2014 [2 favorites]

It seems to me like you have 2 questions: 1) are you going to be arrested for transporting pills somewhere if they're not in the original containers and 2) how do you get many, disparate pills into a festival where it might be frowned on.

As far as number 1 goes, I don't have any specific legal knowledge, but I have never heard that it is illegal to keep schedule 2 drugs outside of their prescription containers. I am not a lawyer.

Getting drugs into your festival may (or may not!) prove an additional challenge. I attended Coachella a number of years ago, and they gave everyone a pat down. There was a medical tent set up near the entrance. It seems plausible that the people at the entrance have to deal with similar issues. However if you just go there the day you show up, it's likely that the medical staff would require you to leave your meds with them. That doesn't sound like a great option for you, so I would spend some time to see if you could contact the staff before the event.

I would follow others' advice and get smaller pill bottles and a note from your doctor.
posted by Phredward at 8:18 PM on June 8, 2014 [1 favorite]

N'thing the blister packs. My husband takes about twenty pills a day at four different set times and the blister packs are small and discrete as a ell as essential in preventing mishaps. Blister packs are free from my pharmacist and each dispension is sealed individually.
posted by saucysault at 8:18 PM on June 8, 2014 [1 favorite]

Wow, good call pearlybob! I actually worked as a pharmacy tech after college (before I moved out of state for a great job that sucked and made me miss MA) but even I never knew about those! That seems to be an elegant solution to all the problems, legal and practical.

I did think of backpacks, but it was the discrepancy part I was worried about; I'll admit it: I'm somewhat vain. Although I have the medication intake of my grandfather I'm still in my early 20's ;) The idea of taking multiple inconspicuous classic orange pill bottles out of my backpack every 2 hours didn't seem too sexy. BUT more pertinently, I don't want security coming up to me every time I take drugs out of my backpack thinking I'm about to start showering MDMA over everyone or something (now wouldn't that be a horrible thought ;) )

In addition to (hopefully) getting those blister meds I will definitely ask for a doctor note specific to the event. And call ahead because, I'm sorry, but I'll be damned if some guys at the med tent want to play elementary school nurse with me).

Thank you all for a lot of good ideas!. I'm glad I thought to ask this here Not only found the perfect solution, but probably avoided getting arrested or something. You guys are champs.
posted by WhitenoisE at 11:11 PM on June 8, 2014 [4 favorites]

« Older A Lasting Fire   |   How do I remove this Venetian Blind? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.