Thursday, August 13, 2009

Crime & Prescription Drug Abuse 2009

Drug abuse is a large part of crime

RISING TIDE: Abuse of prescription medicine poses growing challenge
By John Davis

Published: Thursday, August 13, 2009 at 1:00 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, August 12, 2009 at 10:50 p.m.

Drug offenses are up sharply -- 41 percent compared with the same period last year.

Police are often finding people with painkillers and other narcotics they are not supposed to have during routine traffic stops and domestic violence calls.

"The biggest wave I've seen lately is the diversion of otherwise legal narcotics," Police Chief

One person was found dead June 5 after he snorted oxycodone with his stepfather the night before, according to police. An autopsy showed the painkiller Oxycodone and cocaine were in Block's system.

Another person got prescriptions for 250 oxycodone pills from doctors in Venice and North Port within a matter of days by "doctor shopping," or going to multiple doctors to get prescriptions for the same ailment, interviews with a doctor showed.

Availability has led addicts who once made and used illicit drug to switch to pills like oxycodone.

"It's very conveniently packaged, very easy to distribute," he said. "I don't have to have a grow house. I don't have to have a meth lab."


Meanwhile, police are watching for prescription-drug fraud and abuse, whether from people buying and selling them illegally or committing other crimes to feed addictions.


"It is something we've asked officers to pay a lot more attention to," Lewis said about the connection between some crimes and painkiller addiction.

Monday, June 29, 2009

2009 World Drug Report

World Drug Report 2009 Highlights Links Between Drugs and Crime

Opiates, cocaine and cannabis markets flat or decreasing, synthetic drugs on the rise

VIENNA, 24 June (UN Information Service) - The World Drug Report 2009, launched today by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), shows that global markets for cocaine, opiates and cannabis are steady or in decline, while production and use of synthetic drugs is feared to be increasing in the developing world.

What was once a cottage industry has become big business. Industrial-sized laboratories in South East Asia - particularly in the Greater Mekong Sub-region - are producing massive quantities of methamphetamine tablets, and crystal meth and other substances like Ketamine.

Some countries in the European Union are the main suppliers of ecstasy; Canada has become a major trafficking hub for meth and ecstasy.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Prescription Drug Abuse - Oxycontin Vicodin Lortab

Granted, society is 5-8 years late recognizing this serious problem, but at least it is now out in full view.

Prescribed problem Illegal use of medications a growing concern

OHIO - 2009 - The Daily Record - The stereotypical view of drug addicts buying their daily fix in small bags in back alleys is giving way to a new reality of prescription drug abuse where pharmaceuticals come in plastic bottles with a prescription pasted on the side.

Police and drug enforcement are dealing with a growing threat in the form of abuse of pharmaceutical opiates such as Oxycontin, Vicodin and Percocet. Typically prescribed for pain through legitimate prescriptions, obtained by deceptive means, or raiding medicine cabinets, the drugs are creating a new culture of addicts and dealers.

Only the OraPoint on-site drug screen effectively screens for these prescription pain relievers.

The problem with pharmaceutical opiates, according to Medway Drug Enforcement Agency Director David Smith, has grown in recent years so much it had to double its pharmaceutical diversion unit.

"If they learn there's an easy mark out there, they'll travel. Within that type of community, that word travels real fast. I'm sure they go to rural areas because they assume no one's watching, (rather) than to go to a bigger city," Smith said. "We have seen people from all over, not just adjacent counties, (but) two, three counties away."

The pharmaceutical diversion unit began May 2008, with aid of grant funding, consisting of former Wayne County Sheriff's deputy Jim Garrett. Bill Hofer, a former Wooster Police officer, came on in May to help with the caseload.

Cases investigated come from complaints filed, whether it's a doctor's office, a pharmacy, law enforcement or anonymous tips.

Medway made seven buys of Xanax in 2008, compared to two buys in 2007, and six buys of Oxycontin in 2008, compared to one buy in 2007. Other opiates purchased in 2008, not seen in 2007, include morphine, Darvocet, Lorazepam, Percocet, Klonopin and Hydrocodone.

Garrett said he has done a lot of outreach to local pharmacies, hospitals and they have been receptive and cooperative.

"They're on the front lines, they have a keen sense of observation," he said of local doctors. "Red flags will go up. They'll either question it or call us."

In 2008, Wooster Police reported 29 thefts of medication. So far this year, 11 thefts of medication were reported, Chief Steve Glick said.

"It's a tough one for us to do anything in a preventative measure because it's going to be happening inside people's homes," Glick said. "... It's kind of a wide ranging problem. Drugs like cocaine have to be imported and have to get here. Oxycontin, Vicodin, Percocet, those drugs are readily available, and it's not the health profession's fault necessarily, it's just the fact that the drugs are available because they are prescribed."

Millersburg Police detective Sgt. Roger Estill said investigations have turned up instances of trafficking as well as addiction involving opiate-based prescription drugs. The drugs are often obtained through fraudulent means from pharmacies and emergency rooms, prompting physicians and pharmacists to watch for signs that illegal activity is occurring.

"I don't think there is an increase in activity. What's happening is an increase in reporting," Estill said. "The medical community is looking for it more, were getting a lot of cooperation from pharmacies."

Two individuals facing felony charges in Holmes County Common Pleas Court are charged with using deceptive means to obtain the drugs. The cases involve a 48-year-old Millersburg man who tried to get a prescription filled twice after claiming to have lost the first prescription, and a 28-year-old Warsaw woman charged with changing the number of pills on a prescription form.

In both cases, the drugs were legally prescribed by a physician, only not in the amounts requested.

"I find that when you go talk to them, they acknowledge it's a problem, but they don't know how to address the problem," Garrett said of people addicted to opiates. "They're just embarrassed to come to their family and say 'I have a problem.' Unfortunately, it takes us to contact them to admit it."

Monday, June 1, 2009


Source: 2008 Drug Testing Advisory Board Minutes - SAMHSA

Public Question:
“Does it matter whether a substance is legal or illegal, therapeutic or not? Rather, isn't it the concern of whether or not it has impairing affects and hence creates an unacceptable safety risk?”

SAMHSA Response:
This program was established as a demand reduction for illegal drugs. It has nothing to do with impairment or safety risk at work in the context of therapeutic drugs.
Oral Fluid Drug Screening for Safety

2000 ng/ml Opiate Detect in Urine is Unsafe

Source: 2008, DTAB Minutes, SAMHSA

DTAB Panel Discussion Testing Morphine/Codeine Only at 2000 ng/mL Cutoff versus Testing Expanded Opioid Panel at 300 ng/mL Cutoff

Pat Pizzo, Director of Toxicology, Substance Abuse Testing, Kroll Laboratory Specialists, Inc.

Because of concerns about safety and the abuse of hydrocodone and oxycodone on the job site, a union client requested an extended opiate panel, which included hydrocodone, hydromorphone, oxycodone, and oxymorphone at a 300 nanograms per milliliter cutoff. From January through September 2006 for this client, there were 707 total positive drug results of which five percent were positive for opioids, including codeine and morphine, at the 2000 nanograms per milliliter a cutoff level.

With the 300 nanograms per milliliter cutoff expanded opiate panel, the positive ratio increased to 45 percent.

The client had 200 confirmed and MRO-verified union members who were illegally using either hydrocodone or oxycodone. The union decided the additional cost was justified from a safety standpoint.
Oral Fluid Drug Screening Technology

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Drug Abuse in America is Worse than Ever

Federal surveys reveal cyclical trends in drug abuse — but the number of lifetime users keeps growing.

Reports, such as the Drug Test Index, from Quest Diagnostics, are misleading as they report "positive rates" for urine laboratory drug testing predominantly. This form of testing is little more than an intelligence test for drug abusers, and rarely includes prescription drugs such as oxycontin, vicodin, and lortab.

Overall abuse rates were highest in the 1970s, declined through the early ’90s, went back up and now seem to have stabilized over the past six years.
That said, the increasing abuse of prescription medicines among all age groups has created a serious health hazard.

Survey after survey shows the vast scope of illegal drug use — deep-rooted in all regions, among all races and socio-economic groups. Big cities indeed have severe problems, but the states with the highest overall abuse rates include Rhode Island, Vermont, Montana and Alaska.

“There’s this assumption that drug abuse is more common in racial minorities, especially blacks,” said Dr. Wilson Compton, a division director at the National Institute on Drug Abuse. “It’s not true. Either the rates are lower or at least no higher.”
OraPoint Oral Fluid Workplace Drug Screening Technologies

Prescription Drug Abuse Dealths - Second leading cause of accidental deaths in America

If you don't believe that prescription drug abuse, especially pain relievers is a health and safety threat, read on.

May 27, 2009 - New drug czar wants states to monitor prescription abuse

More Americans die from drugs than from gunshot wounds.

Drug czar Gil Kerlikowske says one of his top priorities is curtailing abuse of prescription drugs such as the addictive painkiller OxyContin that are readily available in the United States.

"We get overly concerned about drugs coming in, but the pharmaceuticals are here already," - Gil Kerlikowske - White House

Kerlikowske said he'll push for more states to adopt prescription-monitoring programs in which doctors and pharmacists log prescriptions for addictive drugs so law enforcement can track them.

Kerlikowske, a former Seattle police chief who became director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy on May 7, said drug abuse is a "public health problem."

"Legalization isn't in the president's vocabulary, and it certainly isn't in mine," he told 300 law enforcement officials last week in Nashville.