Give me my pills…..! How often did we hear this in our pharmacies? Most of the responses were: “we don’t have this in stock”! A dark chapter of greed, abuse and insanity- Opioid overdose/ drug diversion!
A true story…..
Katie grew up with a mother, June, who struggled for years with addiction. She never knew when she would see her mom again, or in what condition she would be. June began using drugs and alcohol recreationally at the age of 14, and as she grew older, it developed into opioid use disorder.
June made a few attempts at voluntary treatment, but she would just walk right out. Later, when she was arrested, she was given the choice of going to jail or going into treatment—thankfully, she chose treatment. June finally was able to work with counselors to help her on her journey to recovery.
Katie didn’t understand what her mother was going through when she was young, and she carried a lot of resentment towards her. It was hard to separate her mother from her addiction, and from who her addiction made her into. She was able to learn that substance use disorder is a disease. It wasn’t her mother’s personality or who she was as a human being – it was just the chemical that made her body feel like she needed the drugs. Now, Katie feels that it is important to share her perspective of loving someone with opioid use disorder.
Read more at…….
A decade ago: As I walked into my pharmacy at 8 am, I used to see a mob of people waiting for me. Some of them with walking canes and others with no walking canes. As soon as they saw me, “hi doctor”, “good morning doctor”, “how are you”! The common thing about these people in the mob was that they all had the same prescriptions to be filled. They all had: one prescription for oxycodone, one for Soma, one for Xanax and guess what….one more for Ibuprofen…..lol!
Another thing that was common was the fact that they all came from the same or similar clinic from 60 miles away from my pharmacy. The last common thing was the same diagnosis of pain, already written on the prescription: Lumbar radiculopathy or herniated disc!
Such was the scenario those days. Unfortunately, this was growing into an epidemic! It all started with “pill mills” or pain clinics getting greedy and offering to write serious narcotic drugs to anybody who wants to make money off drug diversion. These doctors would have fake x-rays, MRIs to prove the pain diagnosis (remember….herniated disc…..lol). These so-called patients would then bombard all pharmacies to get these prescriptions filled.
The strange thing was once a pharmacist filled one patient’s prescription, there would a set of patients walking in right after the first left. Same prescriptions, same prescription pads and of course……same diagnosis; I hope you remember by now! Sometimes, the entire household had the same prescriptions……that’s freak’in hilarious! How could all members of the same family have “herniated discs”……😂
There were a lot of creative ways of how to inject Oxycodone into the body! And interestingly, there is a vocabulary too for these drugs. Here are some of them:
Hillybilly heroin- Oxycodone
Sad thing to this was that genuine patients were denied access to pain medications. A lot of patients suffer from excruciating pain from cancers, surgeries, accidents, etc. But because of this whole species of “drug traffickers” and “pill- mills”, the true patients still suffer a lot.
Dear audience, I juts want to pull your attentions towards opioid epidemic. Today, in America, there are thousands of deaths related to opioid toxicity due to overdose. Not only deaths occur, but millions of lives are also ruined. Imagine, these dangerous drugs falling into hands of our own kids. It not only destroys the individual but also drowns the entire family. The careers are doomed, the reputations are damaged and all that’s left is sadness, tragedy and hopelessness.
Thanks to the efforts of DEA and other organizations to combat this serious issue of opioid epidemic! Today, there are a lot of check points and measures to be exercised by Practioners and pharmacists before dispensing any narcotic. Rigid requirements of IDs, validation of a controlled substance prescription, vigilance about patient’s prescriptions history from eForce and exercising professional judgment- are all legal and ethical requirements that are implemented by health care team.
Remember to use drugs to cure medical conditions only and not abuse them because after all- “Drugs in need are drugs indeed”!