How to Send Prescription Drugs Through the Mail

Mailing drugs through the mail seems like a good way to help friends, neighbors and family members replenish their prescription or over-the-counter drugs. However, for a citizen, sending prescription or over-the-counter drugs is very dangerous. If caught doing so, you can be punished criminally and face fines or possible jail time--especially if the drug is illegal. Different regions and states have different regulations. While it is good to check the laws in your state, you must go directly to the United States Postal Service to get the rules that are applied at a national level.

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Familiarize yourself with the U.S 1. Postal Service’s Web site. Each state has different policies on mailing items. Read the rules and regulations so you know exactly what is legal and what is illegal concerning mailing items. Also, learn some of the codes the U.S. Postal Service uses for its regulations. Look them up on the Internet. Otherwise, you will not be able to understand the regulation codes.

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Mailing over-the-counter drugs is legal as long as the proper procedures are followed. The USPS states that “over-the-counter drugs may be mailed when all applicable federal, state and local laws, such as the Poison Prevention Packaging Act of 1970 and the Consumer Product Safety Commission requirements, are followed. 1

Mailing prescription drugs that require a script or confirmation from a doctor is not something that everyone can do. Only manufacturers, agents, pharmacies or other licensed dispensers or agents may mail prescription drugs.

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Mailing such controlled substances as anabolic steroids, narcotic, hallucinogenic, stimulant or depressant drug in Schedules I through V of the Controlled Substances Act, 21 USC 801 and 21 CFR 1300, may also be mailed if the recipient or mailer is a member of the Drug Enforcement Administration, or DEA. Prescription drugs may be sent through mail if the mailer or receiver is exempt from DEA registration by being and performing as military, civil defense and law enforcement personnel.

Sending a prescription is otherwise prohibited for citizens. If you are caught mailing prescription drugs through the mail, it will be an illegal act and will be prosecuted. Just as sharing a prescription with someone is prohibited, so is mailing it to someone else--especially if they do not have a prescription for it. Sending a drug back to the manufacturer because of recalls, voluntary manufacturer withdrawals and dispensing errors (such as incorrect drug, dosage or strength) is permitted by 21 CFR 1307.12 or other applicable law. The mail must be addressed to the manufacturer’s registered agent or to the manufacturer directly.


Follow the laws in your state, as well as the U.S. Postal Service's rules.


Do not try to send drugs in the mail if you are unsure about any of the laws.