After undergoing surgery, the doctor writes you a prescription for some powerful painkillers. You’re supposed to take them for a month as you heal. However, you feel pretty good after a week, and you decide to stop taking them. You put the bottle aside and don’t think much of it.

Then a friend sees it and asks if he or she can buy them from you. You don’t need them, and your friend claims to have been experiencing some pain themselves. They say they don’t want to go to the doctor, but they would like to test out the medication to see if it helps. If it does, then they’ll set up an appointment. Can you sell them your medication?

Legally, you cannot. Selling prescription medication to a third party is illegal, in part because of the trade of black-market opioids. These painkillers are very addictive, and many people seek them out without a prescription. Therefore, all sales are illegal — even if you’re just trying to help out a friend.

It’s a mistake that people often do make. They don’t see any problem with it, and they may even feel mean to deny their friend the medication that is otherwise going to waste. But the truth is that even such a seemingly innocent transaction could lead to an arrest and some serious legal charges. In fact, you can’t even share the medication or give it away for free. Only the person with the prescription can use it.

If you made an honest mistake and now you are facing charges, you need to know what legal options you have.