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Five top tips for travelling with medicines abroad


Worried about carrying your medicines and drugs on board a plane? This article will provide some tips for getting it right to avoid a drug charge.

There’s no doubt that catching a plane can be a little stressful. Not only do you have to make sure your luggage weighs the right amount, you have to ensure no liquids exceed 100 millilitres, and you also need to arrive on time to get through security and catch your flight.

For someone who has a medical condition, the extra stress of being able to fly with your medicines is likely to add another layer. For starters, will your drugs be able to come with you in hand luggage. Then, your biggest question will probably be whether carrying a large quantity of medicine on a plane will look as though you’re concerned in the supply of drugs.

In this article, we hope to alleviate some of this stress by providing some tips to follow when travelling abroad with drugs. Read on to find out more…

1. Check if your medicine contains a controlled substance
A controlled substance refers to a drug or substance that is tightly controlled by the government. This control is in place because the substance may be abused or lead to addiction.

Controls on drugs aren’t limited to the substance itself, but also the way it is handled, stored, and distributed. Stimulants, opioids, depressants, and hallucinogens are just some of the controlled substances that are illegal in many countries. These restrictions vary based on the location.

Considering these variations, some people may find that they have a problem travelling with their medication. So, it’s important that you check with your doctor if your medicine contains a controlled substance, and check the country’s guidelines before travelling.

According to the NHS, if your medicine contains a controlled substance, you must be able to prove that the medicine was prescribed to you. So, if proof won’t be enough to get you into the country you’re travelling to, it’s important that you seek advice beforehand to make arrangements.

Photo by Ashim D’Silva on Unsplash

2. Know if your medicines are legal wherever you’re travelling
First and foremost, it’s really important that you are aware of the legal restrictions surrounding your medicine in the country you’re heading to. Drugs limitations vary in different countries due to various guidelines regarding which drugs are legal or not. These rules are based upon:

  • The types of medicine allowed into the country.
  • The quantity you can take in.

Many countries, such as India, Pakistan and Turkey, have a list of medicines they will not allow into the country. For example, according to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, “in Japan, some inhalers and certain allergy and sinus medications are illegal.”

It’s important that you read up on these guidelines. You can get more information about this by seeking the help of the foreign embassy you’ll be travelling to within your country.

3. Make sure your medicines follow the hand luggage guidelines
Most airports will allow you to carry almost anything in your suitcases, but when it comes to hand luggage, the same can’t be said. Some medicines come in liquid form, which is why it’s important that you only carry a certain amount in your hand luggage (i.e. the recommended 100 millilitres). This way, you are less likely to get it confiscated.

4. Take extra precautions when packing your medicine
There are plenty of ways you can ensure you travel with your medicine responsibly. Some ideas for doing so could include:

  • Carry your medicines and medical equipment, including needles and syringes, in their original packaging.
  • Ensure all your medicine is correctly labelled.
  • Carry medicine in your hand luggage for easy access, with a copy of your prescription alongside it.
  • Depending on how long you’re going away for, pack extra medicine in your suitcase, just in case your hand luggage is lost.
  • Be sure to check your airline’s regulations before travelling.
  • Always check the regulations of the country you’re heading to before travelling.
  • Make sure expiry dates on medicine will suffice for your entire visit.
  • Make sure you check the storage temperatures for your medicine so it can travel in the correct conditions. Get advice from your pharmacist about storing your medicine in hotter countries.
  • Carry a letter of proof that the medicine was prescribed to you.
  • Get a personal licence for the medicine if you’re travelling for at least 3 months, or carrying a large amount of the medicine.

5. Ask your doctor in advance
If you know you’ll be travelling anywhere with your medicine in the next couple of months, be sure to seek the advice of your doctor before doing so. They should be able to advise you on various country requirements, as well as any medicine storage advice.

Photo by Volodymyr Hryshchenko on Unsplash

Ready to take your medicines and drugs on your travels?

As you can see, travelling with medicine isn’t as scary as it may sound. As long as you travel responsibly, and seek the advice of your doctor in advance, you’re sure to be okay.

If you do end up in legal trouble due to the drugs or medicine you are carrying, you should seek the help of a drug conspiracy solicitor to support your case.

Do you have any more advice for people travelling with medicine? Be sure to leave it in the comments down below.

Please be advised that this article is for general informational purposes only, and should not be used as a substitute for advice from a trained medical or legal professional. Be sure to consult a medical professional or healthcare provider if you’re seeking medical advice, diagnoses, or treatment, and a solicitor/lawyer for any legal advice. We are not liable for risks or issues associated with using or acting upon the information on this site.

Main photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya on Unsplash


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