Busted for One Blue Pill; Suing for the Humiliation

Thumbnail image for news-icon.jpgWow, what a way to ruin date night. Imagine getting stopped, searched, and cuffed, all for the heinous crime of having a single Viagra pill on your person.

That's what happened recently to a Brooklyn man, Earl McLeod, who was pulled over while driving. After ordering McLeod and his three passengers out of the vehicle to conduct a search, the arresting officer said he saw McLeod drop an ibuprofen bottle on the ground, which turned out to contain a single Viagra tablet. 

In a bit of a legal overreach, the officer charged McLeod with illicit possession of a controlled substance. Seriously?

Do you think the police officer really believed Viagra is "a controlled substance"? Or was he just harassing the guy? It may be a misdemeanor violation to have a prescription drug without a prescription, but it's not like it was OxyContin. 

The irony is, probably, by putting the pill in an ibuprofen bottle, the guy wasn't trying to hide or conceal the drug for illicit reasons -- he was just trying to be discreet. Well, that backfired.

What does this mean for all the folks who carry their Viagra in pill cases or some other container, or who carry a loose blister pack or one of Pfizer's new single-dose packets? Does this mean you have to carry your prescription with you, and be prepared to show your papers if you get patted down? 

You can ask Rush Limbaugh about that. Remember back in 2006 when he got detained in an airport for having a bottle of Viagra? In that case, it looked even sketchier, because the prescription bottle had someone else's name on it. But again, according to Rush, it was a matter of discretion: the prescription was under his doctor's name to protect Limbaugh's privacy.

Limbaugh didn't get cuffs slapped on him like this poor fellow in Brooklyn. McLeod did appeal, and all charges were dropped. But he's suing the city for false arrest and civil-rights violations, and is demanding monetary compensation for "emotional trauma, embarrassment, and humiliation."