Multiple Sclerosis goes criminal


When I typed the title of this blog post I was saying to myself, laaaaaawwwww breaker, using a Matthew McConaughey legal thriller voice.   What does Matthew’s southern accent have to do with this blog?

Nothing, it’s just how my brain works.

So here’s a question, if multiple sclerosis is criminal, and I’m pretty sure it is, why do its victims have to serve the time?  We didn’t do the crime.


I’m sure if we thought about it my MS friends and I could find some MS criminals worthy of doing the time; like say, the person who asks how you are and then proceeds to diminish your answer by telling you that they have your symptoms too.

Or maybe people who repeat the same thing over and over even as you tell them that thing doesn’t solve your issue.  (See a future blog post on that one- I have a couple of stories involving those types that I will be sharing in the future.)


And then there are the useless, unfriendly folks at the insurance companies- they should definitely do some time.

This summer I was at a public event and was talking to a nice retired couple.  When the subject of my MS came up the wife sympathized and then told me that her son-in-law had recently been diagnosed as well.

I expressed concern for him and how he was doing. It was then that she asked me if MS had ever turned me into a criminal!!


Seems in addition to his diagnosis, this relative had started absconding funds from his company, committed tax evasion and had become abusive to his family.

How best to answer this question?

I told her that MS can affect a person’s judgment and it’s a very expensive illness that might possibly leave someone desperate.

I told her that with MS comes vicious mood swings and I hoped that their family was getting the help they needed.

I also told her that everyone is affected differently and there is so much about multiple sclerosis that we don’t know that it is hard to speak for someone else.

“But has MS ever made you commit a crime?”  She persisted.

“Well no,” I admitted.  Like I would have said yes if it had- I’m not that brain fogged!

“I knew it!” She exclaimed.


Turns out that she wasn’t very fond of her son-in-law and the criminal behavior wasn’t new. What was new was that he was now trying to blame it on MS.  That’s playing the MS card in a whole new way!

But then, a few months later, MS DID cause me to commit a crime; drug dealing to be exact.

Here’s how it went down.  An online friend with MS had somehow accumulated several months of Copaxone, a very expensive MS drug.  It was the wrong dose for her and because drug companies get easily confused and red tape moves very slowly, they kept sending it to her even though she couldn’t take it.

As time went by she wound up with several unusable doses of this stuff worth approximately $35,000.  When the drug company FINALLY got her prescription right, she asked what she should do with the medication she couldn’t use.  The company told her they couldn’t take it back and she should just throw it away.

That seemed very wrong to her and so she called her neurologist for advice.  He told her the same thing; by law all she can do is dispose of it.


Imagine throwing away $35,000 of cold hard cash in the dumpster?  If I knew that someone had done this, germ-a-phobe or not, I’m going dumpster diving for sure!

My friend had insurance but knew that many people don’t and that even for those who do, copays for drugs like Copaxone are outrageous. She asked if in my travels online I could inquire if anyone could give these meds a proper home in their fatty tissue.

I certainly would have taken them off her hands if only it was my MS drug.  But it was not.

Being the helpful person I try to be and agreeing with my friend that throwing this stuff away was just asinine; I posted on two Facebook groups about the availability of these meds.

We weren’t even trying to sell them.  We were trying to save the planet and a fellow MS’er by not wasting what should definitely not be wasted.

But as soon as I posted this super relevant, super helpful announcement, the administrator of one of the FB groups told me that she had been flooded with comments pointing out that sharing medication was illegal and I was posting illegal activity on Facebook– a definite social media no-no unless you hide it in weird code that only you and fellow criminals understand.


I greatly thanked the administrator; I’m way too much of girly girl to handle prison well.

I took the posts down and hid in my closet while I waited for the feds to show up. Thankfully, they never did.

My near collision with the law just happened to take place the week before Election Day.  I went to vote.


At the polling station I pondered the ballot questions.

And I felt disgraced.

Not at the fact that I almost broke a law/broke a law but that the law was just incredibly ridiculous in the first place.

Yes I can fathom the reasoning behind it; you don’t know if the medication was tampered with, someone could decide to change their dose based on what was available, people could stop taking their meds in order to sell them, people might be inclined to unload expired meds which could be dangerous, etc.

But still, $35,000 worth of needed meds going to the trash is just wrong.

I wondered if there was a way to make a new law, one that would set up a safe resource center for medication.  Perhaps there could be a database where people could register their prescriptions and the center could examine them to make sure they were still good before sending them on.

I thought about making a new law and writing it in on my ballot.


Then I remembered that’s not how it works.  I watched Schoolhouse Rock as a kid, I know how a bill becomes a law.

It all seemed possible.

And then the fatigue set in and it all seemed overwhelming.

So while I did vote, that was all I was capable of that day.

But I can still think and who knows, maybe one day, I can come up with a plan and then a law to prevent such wastefulness.

Until then, I guess I’m just glad I wasn’t arrested…

But if I was, maybe I could use MS as a defense???



12 thoughts on “Lawbreaker

  1. Sorry to have almost made you a criminal but I still believe that NOT giving these drugs to someone who truly needs them is criminal. Usually Free Clinics take unopened, boxed meds especially blister paks and, in this case, boxes of filled syringes in cards of 3 INTACT. But where I live now it is mostly military and they would prefer they just not get what they need and if they finally do – they wait the appropriate amount of time and those on the street have no real free clinics to go to and those who fall through the cracks, well just too bad. So although I know it is against the law I just thought that perhaps an in person friend whom you knew (you have so MANY) or a friend they knew took this drug and it could be of some use. So the next time there is a drive to abscond old meds I’ll carry it over as we would not want to fill the landfill or rivers with toxic medical waste and my guess is these people who collect these drugs at these sites sift through them first to take what they want or need before disposing of them as they sift through your goods at the Goodwill prior to putting them up for sale and the employees take what they want and put out the rest so perhaps these drugs will find their way into good hands or not but either way I tried. Remember you are a writer and if you are forced you must never reveal your source (LMAO) I’d gladly go before congress to testify that this law is WRONG or perhaps meds should be cheaper so all could afford them? It is okay to give expired food to the food bank but not never opened drugs that might help someone that is a no no. Go figure.

    • No worries friend! We tried the Robin Hood thing but it was not to be…..Just remember, if we are ever in the police station together, I don’t know you and you don’t know me!!

  2. drug dealing huh beware of the quiet ones … just kidding I do agree that if the insurance company made the mistake that they should have a way to take it back… So many people need meds and can’t afford them and here they tell her to throw them out sounds crazy…. In all honesty if any of us were to get arrested we all know it most likely would have been me ( well back in the day that is).. Had not thought about School house rock in a long time talk about a blast from the past.

  3. Too many of our drugs rules are obsolete…. especially the ones about sharing unused pharmaceuticals. The safety arguments to just share on the street are obvious but it sure would be nice if doctors and clinics could get an exemption and take our leftovers. Perhaps there needs to be an amendment to your bill?

    I was thinking perhaps you had gone to the other side of law abiding with medical marijuana – that could be your next brush with being on a wanted poster at the post office.

    • Too funny Laura! Let me tell my recent experience with medical marijuana. I am lucky that the pain that comes with my MS is comparatively minimal and usually an OTC med takes care of it. The bigger issue for me is fatigue and I have some understanding (as I’ve read in books-hint, hint..) that pot increases sleepiness. Based on that, I had no interest. But when a relative heard about how easy it is to get a license he called and strongly suggested I get one. I explain to him what I just wrote and he says I should get it anyway as it can help me with all of my pain. What?? Can’t help thinking he was hoping I might share…

  4. Thank you for publishing this. I was convicted by the Feds in 2009 of Wirefraud. I was diagnosed with MS in 2003. I truly believe my MS was a huge part of making irrational choices. The attorney I had didn’t want to address my MS as a possible issue. The crimes were committed from 2004 to 2006. During that time I was also prescribed & taking with my doctors orders 20 mgs OxyContin twice a day & 3,000 mgs of Vicodin everyday. This was also never addressed. Prior to this charge I didn’t even have as much as a parking ticket. I was sentenced to 27 mo in Federal prison. Prison is NOT the place for someone with MS who has muddle spasms, difficulty walking, depression, anxiety, & over active bladder. I had times I didn’t get any of my meds or not enough. It was pure HELL!!!

    • I’m so sorry to hear that Dani and I really appreciate you sharing your story with us. This blog (as are my others) was tongue in cheek but your comment certainly offers a different perspective and the real serious issue behind the issue I touched on here. Thank you so much for sharing that and I hope things are better in your world. 🙂

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