Read this tip to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Prohibited and Restricted Items at Customs and other Travel Insurance topics.
An important rule of thumb is that when you go abroad, take the medicines you'll need, no more, no less. Narcotics and certain other drugs with a high potential for abuse - Rohypnol, GHB, and Fen-Phen, to name a few - may not be brought into the United States, and there are severe penalties for trying to bring them in. If you need medicines that contain potentially addictive drugs or narcotics (e.g., some cough medicines, tranquilizers, sleeping pills, antidepressants, or stimulants), do the following: Declare all drugs, medicinals, and similar products to the appropriate Customs official. Carry all drugs, medicinals, and similar products in their original containers. Carry only the quantity of such substances that a person with that condition(e.g., chronic pain) would normally carry for his/her use. Carry a prescription or written statement from your physician that the substances are being used under a doctor's supervision and that they are necessary for your physical well-being while traveling. U.S. residents entering the United States at international land borders, who are carrying a validly obtained controlled substance (except narcotics such as marijuana, cocaine, heroin, or LSD), are subject to certain additional requirements. If a U.S. resident wants to bring in a controlled substance other than narcotics such as marijuana, cocaine, heroine, or LSD, but does not have a prescription for the substance issued by a U.S.-licensed practitioner (e.g., physician, dentist, etc.) registered with and authorized by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to prescribe the mediation, the individual may not import more than 50 dosage units of the medication. if the U.S. Resident has a prescription for the controlled substance issued by a DEA registrant, more than 50 dosage units may be imported by that person, provided all other legal requirements are met. Please note that only medications that can be legally prescribed in the United States may be imported for personal use. Be aware that possession of certain substances may also violate state laws. Warning: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) prohibits the importation, by mail or in person, of fraudulent prescription and nonprescription drugs and medical devices. These include unorthodox "cures" for such medical conditions as cancer, AIDS, arthritis, or multiple sclerosis. Although such drugs or devices may be legal elsewhere, if the FDA has not approved them for use in the United States, they may not legally enter the country and will be confiscated if found, even if they were obtained under a foreign physician's prescription. For specifics about importing controlled substances call (202) 307-2414 . For additional information about traveling with medication, contact your nearest FDA office or write Food and Drug Administration, Division of Import Operations and Policy, Room 12-8 (HFC-170), 5600 Fishers Lane, Rockville, MD 20857, or read the FDA's Subchapter on Coverage of Personal Importations.