Mexican Drug Cartels Now Trafficking Prescription Painkillers

Mexican drug cartels have depended on sales of illicit drugs like cocaine, marijuana and heroin for their profits. According to federal authorities, an increasing number of Mexican drug traffickers are now dealing in prescription drugs. These traffickers are forming "Pharma-Cartels" and focusing on selling highly addictive prescription painkillers like OxyContin and Vicodin to customers in the U.S. The cartels are diverting prescription painkillers from hospitals, clinics and doctors' offices in the U.S. and selling them on pharmacy websites and in pain clinics and pharmacies in Mexican border towns. Drugs that are sold by the cartels over the Internet are advertised on Twitter and with popup ads. Some cartels are also creating counterfeit pills, often in unsanitary makeshift labs in rundown apartments. NBC San Diego recently reported that the U.S. Attorney's office has brought charges against more than 25 suspected prescription drug traffickers from Mexico since 2009. Some of those who were prosecuted were webmasters who ran pharmaceutical websites as well as couriers, pharmacy workers and one doctor. Preventing These…

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Purdue Pharmas Marketing and the Roots of the OxyContin Epidemic

In the late 1990s, Purdue Pharma's marketing campaign for OxyContin was the kick-off for the prescription drug industry's massive promotion of narcotic painkillers for the treatment of chronic pain. One of Purdue's marketing tools was a promotional video that showed how OxyContin had improved the lives of seven patients. The video was distributed directly to 15,000 doctors. Prior to the introduction of OxyContin, most doctors were reluctant to write prescriptions for narcotic drugs due to the risk of addiction and overdose. Despite Purdue Pharma's hard-sell, there was little medical evidence that these drugs could be used to effectively treat pain over the long term without leading to addiction for some patients. Purdue's campaign could be termed a success in terms of profits for drug-manufacturers, with sales of prescription painkillers increasing by 400 percent between 1999 and 2010. According to the Wall Street Journal, sales of OxyContin alone reached more than $2.8 billion in 2011. Other opioid medications like Percocet and Vicodin have also brought huge profits for their makers.…

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New Government Plan To Tackle Rx Abuse

An innovative new scheme, spearheaded by the government, will attempt to tackle the growing number of people misusing and abusing prescription drugs like OxyNEO. The new scheme will take extra measures to ensure that all data is accurately collected by not only pharmacies, but also doctors. Under this revamp of the patient data collection system, it is thought that a more efficient approach to the digitizing of patient data to national records will greatly improve doctor/patient relations. Overdoses from prescribed medication are now the number one cause of avoidable fatalities in the United States. These numbers even exceed those from accidents such car crashes, and illegal substance abuse. Prescription drug abuse is considered especially troubling as it is also the leading form of substance abuse among teens. According to The Partnership for a Drug Free America, teens are often not concerned about the potential risks involved with consuming prescription medications on a regular basis, with as many as 2 in 5 claiming that drugs prescribed by a doctor are…

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Prescription Opioid Analgesics: The New U.S. Drug Epidemic

According to the 2007 data released by the Center for Disease Control, prescription drug overdose resulted in approximately three deaths per hour. With nearly 27,000 such deaths that year, the CDC has appropriately classified the growing trend as an epidemic. Of course, in years since 2007, the prescription medication epidemic has really hit a fever pitch. The main culprit is the prescription opioid analgesic. For centuries, opioids have been used to treat pain. Recent studies have routinely found them safe, if used according to the doctor's orders. They have been especially successful in managing the pain of cancer victims and persons suffering from degenerative diseases. However, one of the trends feeding the epidemic is the growing use of these drugs to help manage chronic pain in non-cancer patients. This has paved the way for misuse; blamed in part on the heightened state of euphoria which is a common side-effect. Furthermore, statistics indicate that starting in 2003, prescribed opioid analgesic overdose deaths exceeded both heroin and cocaine overdose deaths combined!…

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A Look at The Prescription Addiction Epidemic

Whereas most  forms of drug abuse begin with friends at a party, prescription drug abuse often starts in the home. Over seven million Americans misuse prescription drugs every day. Misuse often starts easily enough, perhaps taking a parent or friend's leftover painkiller. However, occasional misuse can develop into addiction. According to the Mayo Clinic, opioid painkiller abuse can cause: • slowed breathing • the risk of stopping breathing • coma • death Stimulant medications can cause: • seizures • hallucinations • strokes A False Perception of  Narcotic Medication "Safety" One of the main problems is that people believe that prescriptions and over the counter drugs are safer to use than illegal drugs. Actually, prescription drugs are extremely dangerous - particularly if taken in large doses or with other drugs or alcohol.  Also, as with any consciousness-altering substance, prescription drugs can affect judgment and lead to poor mental and physical performance including unsafe driving. The problem is growing at an epidemic rate. In 2000, American pharmacies filled 174 million opioid…

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Prescription Drugs are becoming easier to get:

Prescription drugs are everywhere these days, and they're becoming easier and easier to get. In 2008 there was a staggering 20,044 cases of death from prescription overdose. Of those numbers, 14,800 were from narcotic painkillers. Dr. Thomas Frieden, the director of the CDC, says that the majority of people who die from prescription overdoses haven't taken their own prescriptions. These victims of the prescription drug epidemic may have gotten the drug any number of ways - they may have found them in the medicine cabinet at home, or they could have acquired them from a friend or family member. Educating Doctors about the Dangers of Prescription Drugs is a Must Doctors are also partially to blame as they have been known to hand out prescriptions more easily in recent years. Most doctors are actually interested in their patients’ well being and prescribe responsibly. But there is also a small and dangerous minority that run what are “pill mills.” At these pill mills, narcotic drugs are basically traded for money…

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Canadian Coroner Offers Words of Warning about OxyNEO

A recent article from CBC News out of Canada caught our eye and we wanted to share. A coroner has made a statement to health care professionals in Canada warning them that OxyContin replacement drugs (like OxyNEO) are still very dangerous and increased caution should be used in prescribing them. His statement comes as a result of an opiate overdose and in his words: “Transitioning from one opiate to another does carry some risks, and this death … highlighted the case for heightened vigilance,” Wilson said. Users May Subconsciously Seek Higher Doses of OxyNEO Wilson wanted to highlight the dangers that are inherent in switching drugs.  Many users who are not happy with the sensation of OxyNEO (or another OxyContin replacement like OxyIR or fentanyl) might prescribing physicians to clarify any questionable increases in dosage. Dr. Wilson encourages  pharmacists to screen prescriptions for patterns indicating increased dosages and to contact prescribing physicians to clarify any change. Dr. Wilson has also requested other coroners to be on alert for similar deaths.…

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Prescription Pads – Better than The Drugs for Most Abusers

Just how out of control has prescription drug fraud become? There has always been concern for prescription drug fraud, but as a recent article in the San Francisco Chronicle points out, prescription drug fraud is reaching new heights. It seems that the pads used by physicians to write prescriptions are now being used to facilitate prescription drug abuse. The article goes on to say that a large number of unsigned pads were discovered in a San Fernando Valley medical facility. The investigators who found the misappropriated pads indicated that this was part of an alleged Medicare scam. Other similar cases, according to the San Francisco Chronicle article include a recent incident in Riverside, California. In this particular case, illegally acquired pads from several doctors were used to obtain Oxycotin as well as Vicodin. It is important to note that drugs such as Oxycotin can be very addictive and have serious withdrawal symptoms, a fact which is now finally become widely known. This study talks about how the drug addiction…

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Canadian Health Experts Skeptical about New OxyContin Formula

Nearly three months have passed since OxyContin was withdrawn from sale in Canada and replaced by a new formulation called OxyNEO. According to drug manufacturer Purdue Pharma, OxyNEO is harder to abuse because it transforms into a gel when combined with liquid and is impossible to draw into a syringe. It is also more difficult to crush and inhale. While it's still early to judge the effects of this change, it appears that many Canadian addicts are attempting to adapt. On websites and in online forums, OxyContin abusers are posting recipes for breaking down OxyNEO. Health officials are discouraging these attempts since the effects of injecting the gel-like formulation are unknown. Police in Ottawa have reported that more people are abusing fentanyl as the underground supply of OxyContin dries up. Like OxyContin and OxyNEO, Fentanyl contains oxycodone. It is prescribed to people with chronic pain or who have just undergone surgery and is about 80 times more powerful than morphine. Native Americans and Oxycontin What hasn't occurred yet is…

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Editorial – Doctor’s Roles in Prescription Drug Addiction

Everyone knows that heroin, coke, meth and other street drugs are dangerous and potentially-fatal. But what about prescription drugs? To the average person, prescription drugs tend to be overlooked as a major danger because they are both legal and approved by doctors. But what happens when doctors, influenced by greed, or celebrity or power, allow themselves to give prescription drugs to those who do not need them? Although most doctors choose their profession because they want to help people, not all doctors are motivated by altruistic interests. There are those doctors who are more interested in lining their pockets than they are in curing people. Although it's too often used as an example, we can't help but look at the death of musician Michael Jackson. Just seeing the amount of prescribed medications he was on is staggering. According to a BBC article posted in November of 2011, Michael Jackson was on a cocktail of: Diazepam Lorazepam Midazolam Lidocaine Ephedrine Propofol He was on Propofol, which is such a strong…

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