Fortunately, the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) division of the Department of Homeland Security has clearly spelled out guidelines for the traveler. Following these few simple steps should enable one to arrive at one’s destination with necessary prescriptions and preferred over-the-counter medications:
1. Take only the amount necessary for the duration of the travel period.
2. Declare any addictive drugs to the CBP official when re-entering the United States. These include any medicines containing a narcotic (cough syrups and pills with codeine, for instance; tranquilizers, sleeping pills, etc).
3. Carry prescriptions in their original containers bearing the pharmacy label, physician’s name, etc.
4. Carry only the quantity that a person in the condition for which the medication is prescribed would actually need for the travel period;
5. Carry a prescription or written statement from the doctor who issued the prescription stating the medicine is needed for one’s condition.
Also, never, ever pack medications in checked baggage. All medications should be packed in one’s carry-on luggage. And about those little plastic dispensers? Once arrived at your destination, use them, but be sure to have the original container and the doctor’s prescription at hand if necessary to prove the need for them.
More information about allowed articles and substances crossing borders can be found at the Customs and Border Protection website.