Drugs Narcotics

Drugs Narcotics

Q: What are the laws about drugs and narcotics?

AWhen it comes to drugs and narcotics, it is illegal to:

  • Use, possess, possess for sale, manufacture, transport, or sell narcotics or dangerous drugs (A.R.S. §13-3407 - A.R.S. §13-3408);
  • Encourage, try to sell to, or force any minor to break any of the drug laws (A.R.S. §13-3409);
  • Make or use a false or altered prescription (A.R.S. §13-3406);
  • Use, possess, produce, process, possess for sale, manufacture, transport or sell marijuana for use or sale if under the age of 21 (A.R.S. §13-3405, A.R.S. 36-2852);
  • Possess any instrument or means used to inject, ingest, inhale, or otherwise introduce into the human body any illegal drug (A.R.S. §13-3415);
  • Use, sell, or possess any narcotic or dangerous drugs or marijuana in a school zone without exceptions allowed under the law (A.R.S. §13-3411);
  • Drive on any highway or road while under the influence of drugs or with an illegal drug in their system (A.R.S. §28-1381); and
  • Own a pipe or other device used unlawfully to smoke an illegal substance (A.R.S. §13-3415).


Q: What if someone gives me one of their prescription pills?

A: You may only take and possess those drugs prescribed by a physician for you. To possess or use another person’s prescription is illegal (A.R.S. §13-3406).


Q: What is a dangerous drug?

A: A list of dangerous drugs can be found at A.R.S. §13-3401.


Q: What is a prescription opioid?

A: Prescription opioids are medications that are chemically similar to endorphins – opioids that our body makes naturally to relieve pain. They are also similar to the illegal drug heroin. Prescription opioids usually come in pill or liquid form, and are given to treat severe pain—for example, pain from dental surgery, serious sports injuries, or cancer. Opioids are sometimes prescribed to treat pain that lasts a long time (chronic pain), but it is unclear if they are effective for long term pain," (CDC.gov). 

You may only take and possess those drugs prescribed by a physician for you. To possess or use another person’s prescription is illegal (A.R.S. §13-3406).


Q: If opioids are so bad, why would doctors prescribe them?

A: When opioids are taken as prescribed by a medical professional for a short time, they can be relatively safe and can reduce pain effectively. However, taking prescription opioids, puts you at risk for dependence and addiction. Dependence means you feel withdrawal symptoms when you stop taking the drug. Continued use can lead to addiction, where you continue to seek out the drug and use it despite negative consequences. These risks increase when the medications are misused," (CDC.gov).


Q: Are there special laws that apply to people 18 or over who sell drugs to people under 18?

A: Yes. The law says a person who sells, gives, or offers any prohibited substance to a minor is guilty of a class 2 felony. A person who employs or uses a minor to sell or transfer any prohibited substance may also be guilty of a class 2 felony. If convicted, the person will not be eligible for suspension of sentence, probation, pardon or release on any basis until the sentence imposed by the court has been served (A.R.S. §13-3409). Manufacture of methamphetamine under circumstances that cause physical injury to a minor under 15 years of age is a dangerous crime against children, also with a hefty mandatory prison sentence (A.R.S. §13-3407.01).


Q: Is marijuana illegal in Arizona?

A: For those who are 21 or older, marijuana is legal in Arizona with certain limitations around possessing, consuming, purchasing, processing, and manufacturing (A.R.S. 36-2852). Marijuana is not legal for anyone under the age of 21 (A.R.S. 36-2851).


Laws may have changed since the last time this article was updated.  The current and most up-to-date laws can be accessed here.