Friday, May 18, 2012

Prescription Drug Addiction

            Last year the St. Petersburg Times ran a series of articles entitled “If I Die Young”. One article focused on Stacy Nicholson and her battle with prescription drug addiction. The article chronicled her addiction, recovery, and journey through Drug Court in the Sixth Judicial Circuit. Ms. Nicholson credits Judge Deanna Farnell and the Drug Court program with keeping her alive. Follow the link to read this inspiring article.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Prescription Drug Progress

            Sale of oxycodone and the number of pill mills in Florida is on the decline. The Drug Enforcement Agency estimates that purchases of oxycodone have dropped 20 %. This decline can be attributed to legislation that banned pain clinics and doctors from selling certain drugs along with increased penalties for those who overprescribe. This has results in a shortage in supply which is forcing the street price up to $80 per pill. While this article from the Tampa Bay Times states there is progress in street sales, this article from Bay News 9 states the opposite. According to Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, sales are still soaring with the price of pills remaining at $17 a pill.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Abuse and Overprescribing Lead to Adderall Shortage

            Those with prescriptions for Adderall, the drug prescribed to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are finding it to be increasingly more difficult to get their prescriptions full. Pharmacies around the country are running out of the drug. This shortage can be linked to abuse and because more adults and children are being diagnosed with ADHD.  Some who abuse the drug are also addicted to oxycodone and when the oxycodone is not available they turn to Adderall as an alternative. Since Adderall is known as amphetamine salt, it is considered a controlled substance. The federal government controls how much is manufactured in a year. It is not known when the shortage is expected to end. See this article for how doctors and pharmacists are finding alternatives to Adderall.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Florida Enacts Prescription Drug Database while FDA and DEA Ignore Requests to Limit Production of Oxycodone

As of September 1, 2011 Florida launched a prescription drug database. The goal according to lawmakers is to reduce prescription drug abuse and to end the practice of “doctor shopping”. Once a prescription for a controlled substance is filled at a pharmacy, the pharmacy is required to report the prescription to the state database. This article from Baynews 9 shows that pharmacists are more than happy to comply with the new requirement to prevent abuse.

The State of Florida is taking a proactive approach to limiting access to prescription drugs and preventing abuse, the opposite can be said of the federal government. The Drug Enforcement Administration Office of Diversion Control ultimately decides how much of a particular drug can be manufactured and send to market per year. When past drugs such as amphetamines and Quaaludes gained popularity in the 1970’s and 1980’s the Office of Diversion control enforced 90% and 74% production cuts in manufacturing. These manufacturing cuts essentially eliminated sale of these substances on the street and curtailed their abuse. With such success one would think a similar approach would be taken combat oxycodone abuse and addiction. No such measures have been taken by the Office of Diversion Control and as this article suggests there may be hidden agendas by employees of this division of the Drug Enforcement Administration such as employment with the big drug companies upon retirement from the agency.  

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Prescription Drug Epidemic

Throughout the years certain drugs or substances seem to gain popularity. In the 1900s and through the prohibition era, alcohol became public enemy number one. In the 1930s marijuana was considered the supreme evil and we saw the production of propaganda movies such as Reefer Madness. In the 1960s there was the psychedelic Age of Aquarius and everyone in the Haight Ashbury District of San Francisco seemed to being using LSD or other types of mind altering drugs. The 1970s ushered in the era of Studio 54 in New York and powder cocaine and heroin. The cocaine use of the 1970s led to creation of crack cocaine and the war on drugs in the 1980s. In the 1990s and into the 2000s designer drugs such as ecstasy and speed were the go to drug of club kids.   

Now we are faced with a new drug epidemic, the prescription drug.  Prescription drugs can be legal and prescribed by a family physician. This fact in and of itself makes prescription drugs scarier and deadlier than drugs of the past. This epidemic has been bolstered by the creation of online pharmacies which make it easy for people to receive prescription drugs without a prescription. Many of these online pharmacies are located in Canada and Mexico so their distribution laws are different than that of the United States.  From 2005 to 2006 772 people in the State of Florida died of prescription drug overdose. Of those 772 deaths 645 of those deaths were accidental. Compare those numbers to 2009 where there were 1,185 deaths from prescription drugs. The main prescriptions causing death are oxycodone, hydrocodone, and methadone. If you have a prescription drug addiction call us to discuss your treatment options.