Hey everyone,

 

Hope you're enjoying the long weekend! I will be travelling to the US later this week and wanted to bring some vitamins and supplements with me - turmeric, Align, iron, Imodium (generic), several vitamins, and prescription Reactin (though the Reactin is in a labelled pill bottle so I don't expect any issues with that one).  I had the supplements divvied out in a pill box but I just realized that might cause an issue with customs. I haven't flown anywhere in a number of years. I am only going for a week, so I  can go without some of the supplements if necessary - bare minimum I would like to keep the Align, turmeric, and Reactin with me. Worst case scenario I can always buy imodium while I'm down there. Do you think I will have a hassle at customs? For frequent travellers, what suggestions do you have for packing supplements?

Original Post

I have traveled with medications and supplements 4 times to Europe and once to Mexico and have never had a problem with customs  Any liquids and jells should be in bottles of less than 4 ounces.  Pack all of your meds and supplements in your carry-on bag since checked bags sometimes get delayed or lost in transit.  Enjoy your stay in the US.

Thanks for the tips. I have been told that everything should be in its original bottles, but I take several supplements daily so that's going to be a bit of a packing nightmare. The prescription bottle and the Align are labelled. Otherwise I probably travel with the bare minimum in terms of what I need. Going a couple of days without a few of the supplements shouldn't be a big deal. I don't take imodium regularly; it's a "just in case" item.

I travel between Canada and US about 4-5 times per year and never had any issues except as noted below.  The only issues I have had flying into or out of the USA involved bottles in carry-on bags.  I put some bottled waters in my carry on bag and was hassled by security at the Westchester, NY airport while waiting for a flight to the Bahamas.  Initially they were going to seize the water bottles, but after they saw all the prescription meds in my bag (cipro, flagyl, pentasa, imodium, levsin, etc.) they bought my plea that I have medical issues that require constant hydration.  They gave me a pass on the water bottles, although I later learned that Jet Blue (which I was flying at that time) does give complimentary small bottled waters, so it wasn't necessary to pack them.

 

More recently on a flight from Tampa, Florida to Hartford, CT, I unwittingly packed a metal canister of Coppertone spray suntan lotion, and this was seized.  You can't put stuff like that in a carry on bag. Any metal canister over a certain size will get seized. It kind of sucked because it was a $10 bottle that I had only used once, but I learned my lesson not to do it again.

 

About 5 years ago driving back from the Montreal Jazz Festival, US customs authorities at the Vermont border seized $300 worth of tea I had purchased in Montreal's Chinatown #1.  The reason for the seizure was that it was packed in unlabelled zip lock bags and there was no way for them to know what the contents were.  They were an assortment of black teas from southeastern China from what the tea merchant told me- I had purchased them before- they were lychee and some other types of flavored black teas.  I had made numerous purchases before in smaller quantities, and never had a problem, but the tea was seized despite my protest.  I wasn't fined, because I had declared the tea.  Anyway if you bring in something in a loose pack, unlabelled and they cannot instantly identify the contents, expect seizure.  There is a US federal regulation from what customs authorities told me, requiring packaging and identification of the packaged product.  It might be different with pills but keep the original bottles so you can identify them if needed.

I go between Europe, Canada and Fla 2xs/yr...I buy half of my supplements in Toronto when I get there and the other half in the U.S before I fly back home via Toronto...The bulky stuff (chewable Calicum +D, Gummy multi vits etc ) I take out of their original packaging and put into ziplocks (weight restrictions make every ounce count) and then cut off the labels and put them into the ziplocs...I double up products in bottles (empty 2 into 1 to take up less space...). 

My daily meds are in a little plastic box with seperators for each item. 

My only precaution is really that I carry my scripts (in French please) with me for any dangerous meds (Tegretol, Lyrica, Tramadol...) so that I can prove that they belong to me...I carry a 2 month supply with me when I fly to the U.S...so far so good...no problem.

Sharon

Spooky,

 

Being a Canadian you may have read or heard about this, but Mike Richards of the NHL's LA Kings was busted by RMCP trying to bring OxyContin across the US border with Canada:

 

http://www.winnipegsun.com/201...charge-mike-richards

 

Part of me feels sorry for the guy because he is probably addicted to painkillers, which many NHL players probably need to take because they are engaged in a very brutal and violent sport.  On the other hand, you can't be that dumb even if you need the meds all the time. The LA Kings terminated his contract, which had 5 years and $22 million remaining.  $22 million is a lot of money to leave on the table.  Unfortunately for him, Mr. Richards is also probably going to jail and his hockey career may be over at age 30.  Very sad.

 

I posted elsewhere that when I was in Montreal last year, I smoked marijuana which was offered to me by an American friend. At the time I didn't know how he got it across the border and didn't ask.  I later learned that he mailed the seeds over the border and that the marijuana was actually grown by someone he knows in Quebec.  I am told that this is "quasi-legal."  The friend is a 54 year old stoner scientist who works in the pharmaceutical busines.

It is totally illegal to transport marijuana across the border and you could be arrested for trafficking and importing a narcotic.

Make sure all of your medications are in the original container with your name and prescription number on the label.

OTC medications should also be in their original boxes/bottles.

Happy Landings.

jaypea,

 

You are correct about transport across the border, but I am told by a Canadian friend that  it is "quasi-legal" if an American mails the seeds across the border to himself at a designated address or to a designated third party.  What he can't do is transport them across the border himself.  And that is what he apparently did- he mailed the seeds to someone who grew the seeds for him in Quebec.  I assume he used no return address or bogus return address.  If it gets to where it is going no problema and if it's seized no problema for either party. The package would just be seized.  There is no tracking by the Canadian authorities- all they will see is a package postmarked from somewhere in New Jersey.

Thanks again for all the tips. I've decided just to take the essentials as going without a few of the supplements for 5 or 6 days shouldn't be a problem.  Magnesium, turmeric, calcium and iron are divided in pill boxes. Align is in the original blister pack. I'm taking the imodium in the original container and I've got Tylenol (clearly stamped "TYLENOL" on each pill) in a ziplock bag. Prescription allergy meds are in the original bottle. Hopefully I shouldn't have an issue.

 

It's funny. I used to be a frequent flyer (I even flew a lot in the immediate aftermath of 9/11), but in the last 10 years I haven't needed to take any business trips out of province, and haven't had reason to fly anywhere for personal reasons as I've vacationed mainly locally. Airport procedures sure have changed in the last 10 years.   This will also be the first flight for my pouch. Go figure!

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