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Taking stimulants abroad

Taking stimulants abroad

Stimulants (methylphenidate / MPH and amphetamine medication / AMP) are legally narcotics (BtM) in Germany (along with many other substances).1 This article deals with the regulations for importing these stimulants from Germany and for possession in other countries.
A further description can be found at the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (BfArM) at Traveling with narcotics.

1. Carrying stimulants when traveling to countries in the Schengen Agreement

When traveling to EU countries that are members of the Schengen Agreement, narcotics that have been acquired on the basis of a medical prescription may be imported and exported as travel requirements in the quantity required for the duration of the trip.
For this purpose, a certificate completed by a doctor for the carrying of narcotics in the context of medical treatment in accordance with Article 75 of the Schengen Implementation Agreement Must be carried. Download the Schengen certificate.
The certificate must be certified by the state health authority responsible in the respective federal state.
An identity card or passport must be presented for certification and is subject to a fee (e.g. EUR 5 in Berlin, EUR 35 elsewhere).
Only people with ADHD are permitted to take them with them, not third parties.

The certificate is valid for 30 days from the date of issue.

Medication and certificate should be carried together in hand luggage when traveling by air.

Download the [List of the responsible state health authorities in the German federal states](https://www.bfarm.de/SharedDocs/Downloads/DE/Bundesopiumstelle/Betaeubungsmittel/Reisen/LaenderlisteBtM.pdf?__blob=publicationFile 2).
Tool of the RKI for Search for health authorities in Germany by zip code.

Countries in the Schengen Agreement:

  • Belgium
  • Denmark
  • Germany
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Greece
  • Iceland
  • Italy
  • Croatia (since 01.01.2023)
  • Latvia
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Austria
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Czech Republic
  • Hungary

The Schengen acquis has so far only been partially applied:

  • Bulgaria
  • Romania

The following are not (or no longer) members of the Schengen Agreement

  • Ireland
  • Cyprus
  • England
  • Scotland

No notarized certificate is required for this country to carry stimulants that have been lawfully acquired within a Schengen country.

Within a country, however, it is advisable (especially for drivers) to carry a doctor’s confirmation that stimulants are prescribed. The ADHD ID card from adhspedia can be helpful. When driving in the Czech Republic, however, such a card could pose a risk (see below).

2. Travel to countries outside the Schengen Agreement

The following applies to the transportation of stimulants to countries outside the Schengen Agreement:
The regulations of all transit and travel countries must be observed. This applies in any case when traveling by car / bus / train. We do not know whether the regulations of the countries of transfer airports must also be observed when flying.

  • Contact the relevant country (embassy)
  • If import and possession are permitted
    • obtain a multilingual certificate from the doctor
      • with information on
        • active ingredients to be imported and carried
        • Single and daily doses
        • Duration of the trip
      • Carriage of narcotics for max. 30 days2
    • have this certificate notarized by the health authority of the respective federal state
    • carry a notarized certificate with you during the entire trip
  • If import or possession is not permitted
    • Prescription possible on site?
    • If no prescription is possible on site:
      • Obtain approval from the Federal Opium Agency
      • Attention; lengthy procedure!

A list of the requirements can be found at Country-specific entry requirements, International Narcotics Control Board.
Many countries have not yet communicated their requirements there.
The requirements listed there should be followed as a matter of priority. Our other instructions here may be incorrect or out of date.

Muslim countries in particular have draconian penalties for drug possession.3
It is not safe to take stimulants to Arab countries without careful preparation, even though they are medicines. You should inform yourself carefully about this.

2.1. Japan

As of 2018, a multilingual certificate from a doctor is required, which should ideally be notarized by the public health department. The documents must be carried in your hand luggage. When entering the country, you must declare on the plane if you are carrying stimulants.

(Thanks to Daydreamer)

2.2. Nepal

Nepal is prohibited from possessing and importing various medicines. These include

  • Amphetamine drugs
  • Vitamins in various combinations and limit values

Methylphenidate is not prohibited. We do not know whether import and possession are subject to further restrictions.

Download: List of medicines banned in Nepal.

2.3. Turkey

According to information provided by the Turkish Embassy in Berlin in August 2022, a medical certificate is sufficient for the import and possession of stimulants in the quantity required for the duration of the trip. However, certification in accordance with the Schengen Agreement is not required.
However, the requirements according to the International Narcotics Control Board are much stricter. For example, the certificate must be sent to a Turkish authority 3 days before the start of the trip.

In June 2023, a Turkish embassy in Germany provided the following information:

“In order for passengers to bring medication and medical devices (including dietary supplements) for personal treatment, they must present a document to the customs authority that proves that this medication or medical device must be taken during the journey. Certificates issued by a doctor or hospital or prescriptions prescribed by a doctor are acceptable in this context. It is also recommended to have a Schengen certificate issued by a doctor (the Schengen certificate does not need to be notarized by the health authorities).
At the same time, please note that you may only import the quantity of medicines and tablets that you actually need during your stay in Turkey. It is important to note that there must be no suspicion of commercial trade in the products.
The importation of cannabis, marijuana and hemp in the form of flower, including for use as medicine, is not permitted.“

2.4. USA and Canada

Allegedly, a medical certificate (see form above, International Narcotics Control Board) and the medication in its original packaging are sufficient for import and transportation in the USA.

2.5. United Arab Emirates (UAE)

There are import restrictions/prohibitions, including for methylphenidate.
Illegal imports of medicines are punishable by imprisonment.
Before entering the country, a separate import permit can be applied for at the relevant consulate general.

3. Driving under medication

Driving under the influence of stimulants is also said to be illegal in Germany, but we are not yet aware of any further details,

In the case of criminal proceedings based on national law concerning the medically necessary and permissible use of medication (which, as in the case of ADHD, increases road safety), it would have to be examined on a case-by-case basis whether the national provisions applied violate higher-ranking European law.

3.1. Czech Republic: total ban on stimulants while driving

Information from the Czech Ministry of the Interior confirmed that any detection of amphetamines in the blood could result in criminal proceedings and the loss of a driver’s license.
Lisdexamfetamine has been on the Czech list of BTMs since 2017, which makes it illegal to drive a motor vehicle.
Methylphenidate is also affected.

Land Transportation Act, PART ONE TITLE VI, § 125c

“The substances are on the list of narcotics and psychotropic substances (Government Decree No. 463/2013, List No. 5). The driver may not drive a motor vehicle immediately after taking or under the influence of these substances.”4

This also applies explicitly if these result from the proper intake of prescribed ADHD medication.
There are gradations depending on the concentration of the active substance in the blood, but even at the lowest measurable blood concentration, the penalty for drivers is enormous. There is a fine of 1000 to 2000 euros and a driving ban of 1 to 2 years in the Czech Republic. So far, however, there is no recorded case in the statistics that the Czech police have prosecuted cases of lisdexamfetamine use by drivers.

The Czech Ministry of Health is aware that the active ingredient is used as a medication for ADHD. However, lisdexamfetamine is not available in the Czech Republic and approval is not planned.

We assume that this is even more likely to apply to attentin or amphetamine salts.

(Thanks to Pedro)

3.2. Estonia: Total ban on stimulants while driving

The laws in the Czech Republic, Estonia, Poland, Slovenia and Slovakia penalize driving with any trace of a substance, even if it is a drug.5

(Thanks to Pedro)

3.3. Poland: total ban on stimulants while driving

The laws in the Czech Republic, Estonia, Poland, Slovenia and Slovakia penalize driving with any trace of a substance, even if it is a drug.5

(Thanks to Pedro)

3.4. Estonia: Total ban on stimulants while driving

The laws in the Czech Republic, Estonia, Poland, Slovenia and Slovakia penalize driving with any trace of a substance, even if it is a drug.5

(Thanks to Pedro)

3.5. Slovakia: Total ban on stimulants while driving

The laws in the Czech Republic, Estonia, Poland, Slovenia and Slovakia penalize driving with any trace of a substance, even if it is a drug.5

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