National Post Article – Stolen Opiods A BIG Problem

Pharmacy Rx symbol
Opiod Theft

Please read this article from Tom Blackwell at the National Post:

Many of you know I am an advocate for a balance of Eastern & Western medicine, when living with and treating Chronic Pain. Although, I strongly suggest using ANY therapy that may work, I also understand opioids are a necessity for many of us. I am a Canadian and benefit from a universal health care program, but it does NOT cover acupuncture, naturopathic care, physiotherapists, massage therapists and many other alternative medicinal techniques. This leaves many chronic patients, without any relief save that of narcotics.

As some people abuse opioids and it has been widely publicized, this leads to a huge stigma regarding prescriptions. This media frenzy and people who have NO CLUE what it is like to live in constant, unending, permanent pain, have caused many Dr.s reticent to prescribe opioids for long-term pain issues.

In Ontario, as of November of 2011, we have to show ID each time we get a controlled substance. OK, whatever, I mean, my friend could go pick up my meds and who is to say that really is my friend.? They only have to say “I am picking up for so and so and here is my Drivers licence”. If you are a criminal, why wouldn’t you have fake ID.? f you are an addict, why wouldn’t you go to any  lengths to get drugs?  This is a stupid practice. You also have to get a written prescription – each time there is a renewal or change in your opioids – this IS a good change. This will help in making sure that people don’t Dr. shop or submit fake prescriptions.

With the information in this article; MAYBE watching how these drugs are getting distributed and MAYBE putting in dramatic measures to ensure  secure delivery of these medications, might be more important than providing ID. Drug delivery to pharmacies is not a very secure practice. It would be very easy to stalk a pharmacy, note their delivery times and steal it.  It isn’t like when money is getting delivered to a bank, prescription delivery is a UPS guy who is probably not much bigger than me, dragging a dolly of boxes up to the store. I worked in a bank for several years and know what went into delivering money. The measures were very strict and protocol was followed every time. How many bank robberies do you hear about? Also, think about how many people who work in a warehouse are not making all that much money and working their arses off. Some might consider $40/pill for Oxycontin a simple way to supplement their income. It would only take 100 pills to make a good profit (that is non-taxable too!). I am not saying all these people would do it, for sure, but come on – doesn’t seem plausible?

Maybe we should look at the people who have died of overdoses? Are they pain patients who have been appropriately managed? Or are they addicts who have bought drugs online, in the street or through false prescriptions.

It isn’t so easy to get narcotics prescribed, as many people might want to believe. Although, I have had Tramadol try to “Friend” me on Facebook – I mean what is up with that? (I of course declined).

So Ontario – and those naysayers about those who actually NEED medicine – take a read of this article and maybe give it a thought or two? It could be possible that it isn’t the Pain Patients who are the addicts or contributors to those who overdose? This is the first article I have read (in 8.5 years), that points the overdose issue at something other than the patient.

It has also been said that opioid prescriptions have increased in Ontario. Why don’t we also look at:

  • reduction in coverage for alternative care (i.e. physio, acupuncture),
  • Americans coming North for cheaper meds
  • increase in aging population
  • increase in stress and therefore increase in conditions like Fibromyalgia
  • lack of proper GP’s, Physicians who truly understand pain
  • and lack of resources for chronic pain

Hope you find Mr. Blackwells’ article interesting – I certainly did. It is about time that standards, regulations and focus on this issue went to where it isn’t about the person who suffers an invisible illness – that has no end in sight. Food for thought?

Other Articles In This Blog

Pseudo Addiction

New York Times Article 2011

Open Letters

Pain Is Real Petition

Interesting Note – within 15 minutes of publishing this article – I received 5 spam comments from narcotic/pharmaceutical related urls???? Could we maybe look at online issues too?


3 thoughts on “National Post Article – Stolen Opiods A BIG Problem

  1. An excellent article that seriously looks at the issue for once without pointing fingers at the patients or the doctors.
    I think the pharmacies, themselves, need more oversight and should do more REAL oversight other than ask for ID! I have been gettng pain medication filled at the same pharmacy for 9 years, yet each new pharmacist looks over my prescription script carefully, and once a new pharmacist, because the doctor hadn’t written ir on a script, refused to fill it. I said — check on the computer (everything there is computerized) it will show that it’s an ir drug. No way she would look on the comuputer, call the doctor’s office who had written the prescription, or anything. Despite the fact it was for a very low dose pain med., she refused to touch it until it was “properly” filled out. Which meant I had to make and pay for another doctor’s appointment and go for awhile without the proper amount of pain medication. If all pharmacies and pharmacists did that much policing, then less of the bogus prescriptions, or over prescribed, etc. would happen. Pharmacies are almost never mentioned as being part of the pipeline — if doctors are overwritting prescriptions, and since everything is computerized now, — then pharmacists and pharmacies should looked at too as being complicit in the process.
    In the US, due to health insurnace, if you get your pain meds through health insurance, the health insurance provideder (not the doctor) decides what you get, how often you can get it, and how often you can take it — even if that means a month’s supply of one of my migraine meds was 4 tablets or another that’s 9. Luckily, I go through periods where I get fewer migraines, so I have to “stock up” by refilling each month wether or not I’ve used all the 9 pills, because the next month I might have 12 migraines!
    So, with health care insurance providers being gate keepers, then folks must be paying cash if they are getting more pills or getting them more often than they should. Here again is the pharmacist and the pharmacy. If you buy from the pharmacist an otc med that can be turned into meth, you have to have a proper id and sign a book in order to get that otc drug. But, I could walk in, and if I can a bogus script and cash, get powerful pain pillkillers it would appear. No books signed, no ids checked, no questions asked.
    I got a call one day, many years ago, from my pharmacy asking if I had perhaps received more of a particular opiate than I should have in my prescription. Because I tend use the same bottle more once, I can have combined two scripts. Also, this call came quite awhile after I have gotten my prescription, and to be honest, althought I counted what I had left, I couldn’t be sure that there were more (or less as happened once) than the prescribed amount. Now, I count every pill — I don’t want to take the blame for the loss of a drug rather than the employee who on purpose, or by mistake, misplaced the drug.

  2. And, as to your ps: I constantly get spam in my non-health related email for drugs from Canada, cheap Vigagra, etc. I’m not sure if these are scams or that there is so much illegal stuff out there, you actually can get it by mail!

  3. Great article, and your comment on the original site was also well written and phrased.

    I have so many thoughts and feelings about that article, I am almost lost for words! I could regale you with tons of stories like Phylors, under counted RX’s, the wait for another script (like Phylors), med mistakes galore, on and on. But thanks for bringing that to light, I imagine I would not have seen that story on the news- here in California. I would like to see what the US’s statistics are!

    Keep up the good work,

    Gentle Hugs—–<3

    PS. I put your link up on my blogroll under Chronic Pain and Illness Blogs.

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