Friday, November 30, 2012

Walgreen Questioned? by Drug Enforcement Administration!!!

I had my problem with Walgreen, when I purchased my first prescription of Subotex, they charged Medicaid for the whole 90 tablets when they only had 15 to provide me. Then they wouldn't give me the rest of the 75 and had lots of difficulty. When I complained to Medicaid the idiots took their word for it. When I had the bottle that stated they still owed me the rest of the prescription, they would hear of it. After all persons who are dependent of substances are all liars and manipulaters.  I wonder who is who in America.

DEA Investigating Three Walgreens Pharmacies in Drug Diversion Case

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) announced it is investigating three Walgreens pharmacies in Florida because of concerns over possible prescription drug diversion.
The Miami Field Division of the DEA issued orders for the pharmacies, requiring them to prove why they should be permitted to keep their licenses, Reuters reports.
In April, DEA agents searched six Walgreens stores and a distribution center in Florida. The agency said it was investigating whether Walgreens allowed suspiciously large sales of prescription opioids, which might indicate the pills are being diverted. DEA agents searched through business records looking for what percentage of customers pay for oxycodone for cash. A high percentage could indicate drugs are being diverted to the black market.
Earlier this year, the DEA ordered two CVS pharmacies in Florida to stop selling controlled drugs. The agency was concerned CVS had failed to closely monitor sales of oxycodone. The DEA has tried to tighten control on major national pharmacies to help prevent painkillers such as oxycodone from getting on the black market.
DEA Special Agent in Charge Mark R. Trouville said in a news release, “The diversion of pharmaceutical controlled substances continues to be a great concern for the DEA. A DEA registration is a privilege and not a license for bad behavior. These registrants have a responsibility to their customers, as well as to the community to be an advocate against prescription drug abuse that has plagued Florida since 2009, and not contribute to the epidemic.”
A Walgreens spokesman, Jim Graham, told Reuters the company stopped accepting prescriptions for certain controlled substances at the three Florida pharmacies in May. The company also enhanced its ordering and inventory reporting requirements, to limit quantities of several controlled substances with high potential for risk, he added.

U.S. Military Working on Combination Anti-Heroin/HIV Vaccine

A scientist at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research is developing a vaccine designed to treat heroin addiction while at the same time prevent HIV infection. This project is one of a number of research initiatives around the world that are working toward new vaccines to fight addiction.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse recently pledged $5 million toward Dr. Gary Matyas’ work on the new dual vaccine. The goal of the vaccine is to fight heroin abuse and the high risk of HIV infection among heroin users who inject the drug.
“Heroin users have a high incidence of HIV, especially in regions of the former Soviet Union, South America and parts of Europe,” Dr. Matyas said. “If you can reduce heroin use, you can reduce the spread of HIV. That’s why we’re focusing on both heroin and HIV in one vaccine.”
The two parts of the vaccine are being developed separately, and will be combined when they have both been shown to be effective in small animals. The vaccine could be ready to be tested in nonhuman primates in several years.
The heroin component of the vaccine is in a more advanced stage, he explained. Researchers are taking small molecules that mimic heroin, and attaching them to the active component in the human tetanus vaccine. They are using a potent adjuvant formulation—a substance that enhances the immune system response. “This produces a very strong antibody response,” Dr. Matyas notes. “The antibody binds to heroin and prevents it from crossing the blood-brain barrier and producing a pleasurable effect.”
The HIV component of the vaccine is based on one that was tested in Thailand. A clinical trial of that vaccine, published in The New England Journal of Medicine in 2009, was the first HIV vaccine study to show any efficacy, Dr. Matyas said. The study found the vaccine effectiveness rate was 31.2 percent. The U.S. Military HIV Research Program, part of the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, is working to enhance the response rate.
Once the vaccine is commercially available, it will require booster shots in addition to the initial injection, according to Dr. Matyas.
Most current addiction vaccines are focused on nicotine. Although several nicotine vaccine trials have had disappointing results, researchers continue to test nicotine vaccines. A benefit of a vaccine is that it would be given once a month, which would be easier to stick with than daily nicotine patches or gum. Researchers are studying cocaine vaccines as well.
Last year researchers in California, using a mouse model, announced they have found three new formulations that could be used in a vaccine to treat addiction to methamphetamine.

The 911 Good Samaritan Law Is Working

In 2010, the ACLU of Washington was instrumental in the passage of the nation’s second “911 Good Samaritan” law. New research from the University of Washington’s Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute shows that the 911 Good Samaritan law works.

Washington’s 911 Good Samaritan law provides immunity from drug possession charges to people who seek medical assistance in drug overdose situations. The immunity is also extended to the person suffering the overdose.

The purpose of the law is to encourage people to get help during overdose situations. Previous research has shown that people who witness overdoses often fear calling for help because they think law enforcement will be called and get them in trouble. The law was passed because of a troubling increase in the number of overdose deaths in Washington. For the last few years, more people have died from overdoses than motor vehicle crashes in this state.

The ongoing study is being conducted by University of Washington researchers who have just released some initial results on the the law's effectiveness. Some of the key findings include the following:
      Opiate overdoses are common­ -- 42% of opiate users surveyed at syringe exchange and 62% of Seattle police ( reported being present at the scene of a serious opiate overdose in the prior year.
    • Police were at the scene of most overdoses for which 911 was called, according to drug users and paramedics.

    • 88% of opiate users indicated that now that they were aware of the law, they would be more likely to call 911 during future overdoses.

These findings illustrate that people are more willing to call for help as a result of the law’s existence. Nonetheless, it’s very important that the public continues to be educated about the law. As stated by the lead researcher on the project, Caleb Banta-Green, “these findings indicate we need to make sure we’re getting information into the hands of police and the community at large.” To that end, efforts are being made to educate law enforcement about the law.

The research is evidence that treating drug abuse as a public health issue instead of crime makes sense. Someone witnessing an overdose shouldn’t be scared to call 911; they should be encouraged to do so. Saving a human life is more important than arresting someone for drug possession. That’s why 911 Good Samaritan laws are so important.

To see the preliminary evaluation of the law, visit If you want to learn more about Washington’s 911 Good Samaritan law, visit or take our quiz.
Legal Barriers to Overdose Prevention
Interview with Corey Davis, J.D., M.S.P.H. at Network for Public Health Law
by Tessie Castillo, NCHRC Program Coordinator
Drug overdose from prescription painkillers is a serious epidemic, both in North Carolina and across the nation. In North Carolina alone, overdose death has approximately tripled in the last decade, up to 1000 deaths annually.
Many factors may contribute to the growing number of opiate-related deaths, including increased prescription of painkillers, an aging population, substitution away from illegal drugs, poor pain management, and lack of education and awareness of the signs and risks of overdose. But many legal barriers also stand in the way of effective overdose prevention. Corey Davis, an attorney with the Network for Public Health Law, has been studying these legal barriers and how a slight change to the law can translate into saving lives in NC.
For example, he explains, there is a drug available, naloxone, or Narcan, which blocks the effects of opiates in the brain and reverses an overdose within seconds. Narcan is not a controlled substance, cannot be abused, and has been safely utilized for decades by medical emergency personnel. Studies have shown Narcan to be effective at reversing an overdose even when administered by a layperson, such as a family member or friend of someone experiencing an overdose. However, Narcan can be difficult to access.
“It’s difficult to get naloxone because it is available by prescription only,” explains Attorney Davis. “It can be expensive to see a doctor and most doctors don’t routinely prescribe it when they prescribe a strong opioid. Some physicians may be worried that if something should happen, they could be civilly or criminally liable. Although there is no evidence that the [risk] of liability is real, it does seem to be a concern for physicians.”
Some states have amended their laws to protect medical practitioners from liability should they prescribe Narcan and laypeople who administer the drug.
“Eight states so far have explicitly changed their laws to encourage people to use naloxone in an overdose situation without fear of legal repercussions,” says Attorney Davis. “[The laws] vary a little bit between states, but in general they remove the possibility of civil liability for prescribers acting in good faith and for bystanders who act in good faith [to save a life].”
Not only is fear of liability a barrier to overdose prevention, but fear of law enforcement prevents more than half of witnesses to an overdose from calling for help, and leads to countless preventable deaths. To address this problem, many states have passed 911 Good Samaritan laws granting limited immunity to overdose witnesses who call 911 to save a life. Under these laws, witnesses may not be prosecuted for possession of small amounts of drugs or paraphernalia. Studies have shown that 911 Good Samaritan laws do increase the likelihood that witnesses will call for help in the event of an overdose.
Additional benefits of 911 Good Samaritan laws and legislation to increase access to Narcan are that they can be achieved at little to no additional cost to taxpayers. As Attorney Davis explains, states even save money by reducing costs to both the medical system and the penal system. Fewer people dying and fewer people in jail for minor charges means less spending and greater fiscal flexibility. And of course, the greatest advantage to the laws is the prevention of needless deaths.
“Naloxone access laws and 911 Good Samaritan laws are really just two sides of the same coin,” says Attorney Davis. “A model bill in North Carolina would increase access to naloxone by permitting physicians to prescribe it without fear of civil or criminal liability. It would also permit them to dispense naloxone to friends and family of someone at risk for an overdose… [Additionally, a model bill] would encourage people to call for help by removing the possibility that they would face criminal sanction for calling 911 in good faith to save someone's life.”
These simple pieces of legislation make legal sense. They make fiscal sense. They make sense for the people of North Carolina who will lose a loved one to drug overdose and for the one thousand souls who will die too soon this year. As Attorney Davis explains, “Nobody should be afraid or punished for trying to save a life.”
To become involved in the efforts to pass overdose prevention legislation, visit or call Robert Childs at 336-543-8050.

From North Carolina Harm Reduction Coaltion interview on 911 GoodSamaritan Law

Addictions Counselor Speaks Out: “We Need 911 Good Samaritan Laws to Stop Overdose”
by Tessie Castillo, NCHRC Program Coordinator
Interview with Anne Lamberti, Clinical Addiction Specialist
Add one more voice to the clamor for 911 Good Samaritan laws in North Carolina: substance abuse counselors. 911 Good Samaritan laws, which would allow witnesses to a drug overdose to call for help by removing criminal liability for drug possession for the victim and the caller, are gaining traction among the addictions treatment community. And who better to comment on drug policy than the professionals who face a parade of broken lives every day?
Anne Lamberti is a licensed clinical addiction specialist at Southlight Judicial Services in Wake County, North Carolina. She sees firsthand the devastation that drug addiction can cause. But she sees something else equally disturbing – people being arrested after calling 911 to save someone’s life.
“I had a young client who was cited by police for seeking help for a friend,” says Lamberti. “He was at a suburban party where kids were taking fistfuls of pills and one of his friends had an adverse reaction. My client wanted to call for help, but the other kids didn’t want police involvement because they were afraid of their parents finding out. My client did the right thing and drove his friend to the hospital, but in the car on the way, she started to assault him. The police pulled him over and cited him on drug charges.”
Unfortunately, the case above isn’t Lamberti’s only client who has been cited after placing a 911 call. “The way I see it,” she says, “young kids get into a lot of foolish stuff. If someone has the good judgment to call for help, they should not be arrested.”
In the absence of 911 Good Samaritan laws in North Carolina, it is not uncommon for someone who calls 911 to save the life of a friend to be arrested on drug possession charges. In fact, studies show that fear of law enforcement deters more than half of witnesses from calling for help, leading to preventable death from overdose.
“We shouldn’t allow [these arrests] just to prove a point about illicit drug use,” says Lamberti. “With the increase in opiate pill use, overdose is increasing and people are dying…the current law is actually contributing to death due to overdose. It doesn’t make sense to put a barrier between people helping each other, whatever the circumstances.”
Arresting someone who calls 911 not only affects the person charged, but also decreases the likelihood that others will call for help in the future. “If one person gets a drug charge for saving someone’s life, that person will tell all their friends and then nobody will call 911,” explains Lamberti.
Lamberti dismisses critics’ argument that 911 Good Samaritan laws would encourage drug use or give users a “free pass.”
The 911 Good Samaritan law is about saving lives. Discouraging people from calling 911 doesn’t prevent people from using [drugs], it doesn’t reduce drug use and it increases deaths due to overdose. If there is any way to make an impact on users at the scene of an overdose perhaps the police could give out information on treatment options instead of citations.
“There is a problem with using drugs and there is a problem with people dying of overdose. If we are going to address the drug problem, we need to address the dying too.”
For more information on how to get involved with 911 Good Samaritan laws and overdose prevention in North Carolina, visit