Thursday, December 27, 2007

Is your pharmacist a pusher?

Oh great. The War on (Some) Drugs is going so swimmingly that authorities are turning their attention to the "abuse" of prescription drugs -- that is, the recreational use of drugs available only with government permission for approved uses.

"It's readily available," says Bick. "You can buy illicit, pharmaceutical drugs on any Main Street, probably in the state of Vermont, certainly in the major metropolitan areas of the state of Vermont."

But while counselors say it's the demand that's driving the supply, there's also money to be made-- pharmaceutical drugs can sell for a dollar a milligram, which means that one 80 milligram pill can be an easy $80 for a dealer. And because the Vt. State Police have seen a drop in federal funding, they plan to ask the legislature for an additional $1 million next month to help fight the growing problem.

"We have to work, not only in law enforcement, but with the treatment people, education, and really get the word out that it's run under the radar for far too long. And it's time that we all work toward this problem to address it," says L'Esperance.

Specifically, Vermont officials want to make it even more difficult for people to acquire even approved drugs for permitted uses.

Police are currently working on a measure that would stop prescription drug fraud by preventing people from filling duplicate prescriptions at different pharmacies. Officials say they are also reassigning more officers on the force to focus specifically on the prescription drug problem.

Why is it a problem that people are getting high? That's really not explained -- it's just assumed that ingesting chemicals for the purpose of feeling pleasure is an inherently bad thing that needs to be stopped. Subjecting people to police raids and sending them to prison is apparently not so bad. The fact that all such efforts at heading off recreational pharmaceutical experimentation in the past failed miserably holds no lessons for the prohibitionists -- they still see a need to tighten the screws a few notches.

Hey, how about letting people buy and use drugs as they please without making a big deal about it? Is that really such an outrageous idea?

That noise you hear is the sound of prohibitionists sputtering in shock.

For a more reasonable take on drug prohibition, check here.

For a skeptical view of the value of prescription requirements, check here.



Blogger Fred said...

Fortunately, assuming it comes to pass, I recently read about an effort being made in California to allow pharmacists more leeway in actually providing some medications without a doctors consent. Let's hope it works.

Even without the recreational drug aspect of pharmaceuticals, prescription requirements can be a serious problem for people- never mind the cost. I had recent experience with this although, admittedly, the prescription I needed wasn't for a life threatening issue so wasn't all that big of a deal. Still pissed me off, though.

I went to get a prescription refill last week. It was supposed to be renewable for a year, as it always had been with my old health care provider. New doctor, though, and for some reason he didn't make it renewable. The girl at the pharmacy says they'll fax the doctor for renewal authority.

I call them the next day after using the last of the medication I had on hand. They tell me the doctor never responded. The day after that I stopped by the pharmacy and asked about my prescription again. The doctor still hadn't authorized renewal.

I told the gal I was out of the medication (allopurinol- for gout). She tells me to wait while she checks with the pharmacist. She comes back and says normally I'd have to wait for the doctor's authorization but, "since this is Christmas" and I was out of medication, they'll go ahead and refill it anyway.

Cool. Nice of them and good to know they have some leeway in such matters. I do hope that legislation gets passed to allow pharmacists even more leeway in dispensing drugs themselves.

After I got my prescription filled I asked the gal if they'd had problems before with the same doctor. She said he was known for ignoring renewal inquiries.

Not the only reason I may be looking elsewhere for medical needs in the future.

December 28, 2007 7:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You spend so much time complaining about the gov. that you are missing what it provides for you. Take yourself to North Korea, read a bible and get sent to prision. That is a stupid gov. Go anywhere in the Middle East and watch a female get things cut off of here that should not be. But not you want to complain about the FDA that regulates medications with high abuse potential. You just like to complain and it is sad. Spend you life like this if you want or do something that really helps people.

December 28, 2007 10:14 PM  

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