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For What It’s Worth by Dr. Melfi

So here’s something interesting that has come to my attention, and perhaps I am the last to know, but thought I’d pass on this tidbit of information that might keep you out of jail someday. I recently found out, quite by accident, that you don’t have to commit a murder, or even break into a house, to get arrested. All you have to do is carry unmarked drugs in your car or on your person. Not the illegal kind, not crack or heroin, or even pot. No, a mere baggie of your favorite headache medicine, such as Tylenol or Advil, will suffice. In other words, if you are stopped or frisked for any reason, and on your person, or in plain sight in your car, is your, perhaps, weekend stash of, let’s say, thyroid medicine, or your antibiotics, unlabeled, with no proof of prescription, even though it does belong to you, and is prescribed for your medical use, that baggie or whatever container you chose to keep your medicine in, if confiscated, might land you in jail, and I don’t mean overnight. I mean substantial time until the lab, which is backed up, gets around to testing the specimen and giving the results. If this is not new news to you, then I don’t know why nobody ever told me, because when I travel for a quick overnight stay or weekend getaway, rather than take three or four bulky prescription bottles, I have often just thrown a few pills in my overnight bag. Not anymore. I mean, it does make sense, but how do three antibiotics give you the same time as let’s say, a 26

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baggie of cocaine? So, I take it a step further. What about the nice doctor who hands you some samples of, let’s say, a muscle relaxant because you have a backache. Those must be subject to search and seizure, I suppose. You certainly aren’t carrying around a prescription or a label on a bottle. Then it becomes even more frightening. Suppose you have been unjustly accused of, let’s say, shoplifting by an overly ambitious new employee, and your purse is subject to search. All looks good initially, no sign of any stolen items, but what about the crumbled saltine crackers that sit at the bottom by the lining, or your child’s goldfish crackers, long ago wedged into the side pocket? Are you getting arrested for that? I don’t know. Maybe. I don’t know what the specifics of the laws about this sort of stuff are, but it stands to reason that we all better find out, because I have a lot of yesterday’s snacks hanging around the seats of my car, in plain sight. For what it’s worth, I wish someone would tell the general public, and specifically me, exactly what the law states about saltine crackers versus crack cocaine, and if my hearsay information is just your basic gossip that has spread like wildfire. But for now, I’m going to vacuum everything I own before I get into the car.


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