Those of you who have followed this column over the years know that I have a special interest in the diversion of controlled substances within healthcare facilities. It started back in 1990 when I formed the Cincinnati Police Department’s Pharmaceutical Diversion Squad. We quickly learned that in addition to doctor shoppers, bad prescriptions, and other scams, a real problem existed in our hospitals and long term care nursing facilities with drug diversion. [Read more…]
A topic I haven’t covered in a very long time is the activity of drug seekers at night and after the close of most businesses, including doctors’ offices and clinics. The places affected by nighttime diversion are emergency departments (EDs) and 24hour and latenight pharmacies.
Drug seekers have been presenting to America’s EDs for decades, and this activity hasn’t decreased much, if at all. The supposed injuries and problems for which drug seekers come to the ED are as varied as prescription drug seekers themselves. I’ve seen cases of people who in order to receive a pain shot burned parts of their bodies, including their testicles; aggravated existing root canal work in the ED parking lot; and carried their own blood in syringes to feign vomiting it. [Read more…]
In my local paper a few weeks ago, a tragic tale was told by the mother of a college student who had died of alcohol toxicity. Her son had consumed copious amounts of alcohol and simultaneously snorted a stimulant usually prescribed for attentiondeficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
The story focused on the student’s stimulant abuse, which involved several pills over the course of the night. The mother had no idea how her son obtained the pills, but they had not been legally prescribed. In the story, alcohol abuse seemed to be regarded as a rite of passage for college students, so the full blame was placed on the prescription stimulant. [Read more…]
If you have followed this column, you know I am a big proponent of prescription monitoring programs (PMPs) in this country. However, I am not a proponent of a single PMP being run nationally by a federal governmental entity. Rather, I support management by individual states that establish their own laws as to who has access and how it can be used. I don’t agree with how some of them restrict law enforcement to easily access the data, but I recognize that the whole system works better when states do their own thing! [Read more…]
The issues and concerns about the deaths surrounding prescription drug abuse need no introduction. In Ohio and many other states, the unintentional overdose deaths due to pharmaceuticals accounts for more than fatal traffic accidents and more than the deaths associated with cocaine and heroin combined. When the number 1 substance of abuse for 12- to 17-year-olds is also prescription drugs, the potential for this age group to overdose and die due to abuse is real.
Many of us do our best to combat this problem, with great television and radio ads, printed prevention material, educational sessions, websites, and personal talks with our own kids and grandkids. Everything has been tried from the soft approach to providing grim statistics and videos of those involved in substance abuse. The DARE program has been in business for decades now, targeting our younger children inside the schools with visits from police officers who are dedicated to trying to prevent drug abuse. [Read more…]