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Old 01-16-2013, 09:58 AM   #1
sjlnv
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Medications and Customs

We are cruising in April. I was excited thinking I wouldn't have to worry about customs, because the only place we stop outside of the US is CC.

My 10yr old son has a rare form of diabetes called mody. We will find out days before our cruise about insulin. He isn't on it yet... but very possibly will be. I have the ship portion taken care of, but now with customs... are there any special percautions to take? He is on a lot of other medications due to another illness that damaged organs, and pain control. Does it take longer to do customs? Do I need drs notes?
Thanks so much
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Old 01-16-2013, 10:02 AM   #2
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Castaway Cay is in the Bahamas, so you have the typical Customs clearance.

If your prescription medications are in their original containers, you'll have no issues at all. They don't even ask about prescription drugs, but it never hurts to be prepared. No need for doc notes as long as they are in original bottles. Since you mentioned pain meds, if any are scheduled substances, FL law REQUIRES that these be in the original containers.
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Old 01-16-2013, 10:26 AM   #3
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We've never had to declare our medications, and we bring medications that require refrigeration all the time. Good luck.
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Old 01-16-2013, 10:38 AM   #4
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You don't have to clear Customs returning from Castaway Cay, you just walk on and off the ship. When you return to the U.S. you will go through Customs and have to declare anything you bought.
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Old 01-16-2013, 10:51 AM   #5
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Forget customs - FL requires all prescribed meds to be in their original containers.
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Old 01-16-2013, 01:44 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by su_A_ve View Post
Forget customs - FL requires all prescribed meds to be in their original containers.
Quote:
Originally Posted by kcashner View Post
Since you mentioned pain meds, if any are scheduled substances, FL law REQUIRES that these be in the original containers.

Two different things being said here. Anyone care to link to the law? I've tried to look before but don't even know WHERE to look.




Considering that DH has been into and out of many countries with his pills out of original containers (no pain pills though) and has only ever had ONE thing questioned (injectable drug that is illegal without a prescription in some places) but it was still totally fine (that drug was in its box which had the prescription label on it), it seems more than odd that Florida (will FL authorities even be looking at things? seems customs is a Federal thing) would have stronger laws than, for a very specific and stern example, Singapore.
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Old 01-16-2013, 01:50 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bumbershoot View Post
Two different things being said here. Anyone care to link to the law? I've tried to look before but don't even know WHERE to look.




Considering that DH has been into and out of many countries with his pills out of original containers (no pain pills though) and has only ever had ONE thing questioned (injectable drug that is illegal without a prescription in some places) but it was still totally fine (that drug was in its box which had the prescription label on it), it seems more than odd that Florida (will FL authorities even be looking at things? seems customs is a Federal thing) would have stronger laws than, for a very specific and stern example, Singapore.
I've heard the "FL requires all meds to be in the original bottle" thing before. However, it wasn't until after our first cruise plus we'd been to WDW numerous times before that. We travel with those "days of the week" pill containers and were never questioned (Customs or otherwise). What I have heard is that you should bring (on paper is fine) a copy of the label from the original prescription. Sometimes pharmacies will even provide an extra copy for you to take when traveling. As long as you can show that it's a legal prescription, if questioned, you should be fine.
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Old 01-16-2013, 03:22 PM   #8
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My DH is disabled and travels with a minimum of 12 different medications that he takes every day. He also has 2 controlled substances. He travels with them in one of those lock boxes and carries it on and off the ship. All prescriptions are in their original prescription bottles or boxes (inhaler). We have cruised 7 times and have never had an issue with customs. In fact, they've never even asked or requested anything. He just keeps the lock box between his feet on his scooter getting on/off the ship.

You should be fine OP if you carry everything with you as instructed by the doctor/pharmacist.
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Old 01-16-2013, 03:25 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bumbershoot View Post
Two different things being said here. Anyone care to link to the law? I've tried to look before but don't even know WHERE to look.
I believe they are stating the same thing. It is against the law to carry a controlled substance out of the original bottle. I believe most states have that law. DH got "busted" when he went to pick up a paper at the courthouse for his older DD. He forgot he had his pain pills in a little bottle attached to his key chain. They held him in the sheriff's office until the Dr. faxed over his prescription. They were going to arrest him for dealing. He learned the hard way that these pills only come out of the bottle when he's ready to take them. I would imagine that Florida has the same law. Whether they enforce it or not is another issue.
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Old 01-16-2013, 03:45 PM   #10
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Here's the scoop - for CONTROLLED substances (pain pills), you need to be able to prove that they're prescribed to you. It's against federal law to be in possession of controlled substances without a valid prescription. ETA: It's not illegal for the prescription drugs to be outside of their pharmacy container, it's just illegal to have certain drugs without a prescription, and the container is one form of proof that they're rightfully yours.

So, in theory you should be able to just keep a copy of the prescribing info with you (like on the receipt/drug interaction info you get at the pharmacy, letter from doc, whatever). What you should be aware of, however, is that it's not necessarily apparent what's going on when you're traveling with baggies of unlabeled pills, comprende? Even a bag of generic acetominophen might look suspicious. They can't convict you of a crime without proving that your baggie is full of a controlled/scheduled drug, but they can delay and harass you for a bit.

Keeping that in mind, we've traveled with pills, vitamins, supplements, etc. in "day of the week" containers without any issues. Just be aware that Florida is a major entry point for illegal drugs into the US, and tons of drugs are sold to tourists in the Caribbean and Bahamas, so there's probably DEA floating around somewhere when you arrive back in port.

I've never had to declare that I was carrying meds. I think, but don't quote me on it, that if you get prescription drugs in Mexico you need to declare, but only as to the value of the purchase, not because they're prescription.

ETA: Also check out this attorney's blog: http://www.heymanlawfirm.com/legal-t...le-but-beware/
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Old 01-16-2013, 03:48 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eeyore'sthebest View Post
I believe they are stating the same thing. It is against the law to carry a controlled substance out of the original bottle. I believe most states have that law.
No, one person is saying ALL prescriptions, and the other is saying controlled substances. There's a difference between someone's prescribed oxycontin vs someone's prescribed triampterine.

And I really doubt that most states have the law about all prescriptions. If they did, the companies that make weekly/monthly cases, like the Target-branded one I bought MIL, would not be in business.

A friend of mine went through the transplant program up at UW Medical Center in Seattle, and part of her release process after she got her new liver was a HUGE weekly organizer for her pills given to her by the program. Which she has now carried with her to and from Mexico, to and from Europe (in at least two different countries), and most recently to and from Belize. She probably has the labels with her (which show the prescription info) for all of her pills, but she certainly is NOT carrying them in their original containers. And since she's at work today, and not in jail, it seems there was no problem going to or coming from those countries.


When it comes to laws, I'd just like to see the exact wording. And I can't find it.

It was easy enough to find the wording for Australia's law about HCG, so that we knew that he had to have it in the box with the rx label on it. (you can't have it without a prescription there, as it can be used as an anabolic steroid, and since it's not typical for a man to take it, he made sure to follow the law) And it's odd that I can't easily find Florida law.
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Old 01-16-2013, 04:09 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by manateesmom View Post
Just be aware that Florida is a major entry point for illegal drugs into the US, and tons of drugs are sold to tourists in the Caribbean and Bahamas, so there's probably DEA floating around somewhere when you arrive back in port.
Oh, no one's denying that DEA isn't around. But that's Federal, of course.

Interesting blog. Especiall since he says that it's not the law anymore that you have to have it in the original container, but you should as a precaution. And he mentions a specific statute (whose wording in 1984 was later declared unconstitutional) in it, yay for statutes!

It's probably the bits about possessing with intent to sell (or purchase, which I imagine means holding it in your hands before paying) that would have to do with all of this, and having the label makes it easy to prove. Which is what you were saying, manateesmom.




I especially like this part elsewhere under the statute: "a prescribing practitioner may not:
....Employ a trick or scheme in the practice of the prescribing practitioners professional practice to assist ... the owner of an animal in obtaining a controlled substance;"

What on earth had to have happened (in Miami, probably, if Carl Hiassen and Dave Barry are correct) to have put that in there? "No really, the dog needs heroin! I promise!" Oh how I miss Miami...


In skimming I see lots and lots of ways they have of "throwing the book" at someone...like it's extra-bad to sell controlled substances near a church. I love reading statutes.
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Old 01-16-2013, 04:12 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bumbershoot View Post
When it comes to laws, I'd just like to see the exact wording. And I can't find it.

It was easy enough to find the wording for Australia's law about HCG, so that we knew that he had to have it in the box with the rx label on it. (you can't have it without a prescription there, as it can be used as an anabolic steroid, and since it's not typical for a man to take it, he made sure to follow the law) And it's odd that I can't easily find Florida law.
From the article I linked:

Quote:
Florida Statute 893.13(2)(a)(7) which at that time did in fact make it a crime to possess prescription drugs in a “generic” container which was not issued by the pharmacy. In Walker v. State 444 So.2nd 1137 (Fla 2nd DCA 1984), the Second District upheld the Pinellas County Judge who had ruled that , “because the statute criminalized activity which was otherwise inherently innocent” , that the statute was unconstitutional.
At one time there was such a statute in Florida, but it was ruled unconstitutional. Otherwise, there are federal laws regarding who can be in possession of controlled substances, see for example http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Controlled_Substances_Act
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Old 01-16-2013, 04:15 PM   #14
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I'm pretty sure it's all prescriptions, otherwise, they'd be wasting their time looking in the Drug Bible (there really IS such a thing) to check it isn't a controlled substance.

I've always brought prescription meds with me...and although it'd be much easier to use one of those Monday-Friday holders, you have to bring the bottles with the prescription on it.

That being said, TSA has never said anything (but all my drugs are in bottles), you don't have to take them out of your purse/bag or anything, they'll just x-ray it with the rest of your carry-on.
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Old 01-16-2013, 04:33 PM   #15
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Nobody from customs has ever looked at or asked to see my medications when embarking or disembarking the ship, including CC where we have never gone through customs to reboard the ship. My DD has Type 1 diabetes and we carry insulin with us. We have never had a problem with insulin either through TSA or customs.
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