Ladies and gentlemen, while you might think nothing about taking painkillers, sleeping pills or cough medicine with you on your next trip, you better think twice if you don’t want to be calling your lawyer. If you’re traveling to a different country, you need to know the local drug laws. While something might be legal in the United States, in the country you’re visiting, possession of the drug could equate to a prison sentence.
A simple example involves visiting the United Arab Emirates. If you have codeine or Tramadol in your luggage, you’re going to have a problem. Those drugs are illegal in the UAE and result in vacationers spending time behind bars instead of at tourist destinations. Japan has a ban on the ingredient pseudoephedrine. That means you better not bring Vicks or Sudafed across their border. If you do, you’re going to have to face down with the law.
If you suffer from insomnia, you might not want to visit Singapore. Because of their ban on sleeping pills and anti-anxiety medications, you could be suffering throughout your trip. They also have strict rules around painkillers, which require a license. For those receiving prescription treatment for ADHD, a trip to Indonesia might result in prison time or the confiscation of your medication. Many drugs used to treat that mental health issue are banned. While some countries don’t make it illegal to bring certain drugs across their border, they do have restrictions. China, for example, requires a doctor’s note if you plan on bringing any medication with you. And in Qatar, over-the-counter medications like cough-and-cold remedies require a prescription. The reason is that those drugs are controlled substances in Qatar.
For those planning a trip to Costa Rica, do not bring more medication than you need. You’ll also need a doctor’s note to confirm that you have the right amount of meds and no more. And remember, if you’re planning an international trip, you need to learn the rules and regulations that might affect you. For those who need prescription medications, a trip abroad could result in a significant amount of jail time or a stressful run-in with the police. Before you hop on a plane to a different country, speak to your pharmacist about your meds. You should also look up foreign restrictions and see if the country you’re visiting has banned any of your prescriptions.