Suboxone is traditionally used to treat patients coming down off heroin and other opiate addictions. Because the withdrawal symptoms are so strong, those wishing to detox often need chemical help. The withdrawals coming off Suboxone are much less intense and can help ease the transition from illicit opiates to a more controlled alternative.
Usually only health professionals working in drug treatment facilitates have access to the drug. Somehow the drug has found its way into the hands of the public who are smuggling it into their relatives and friends in prison. Two incidents of misuse have recently been reported – one in Pennsylvania and the other in New Jersey.
In the Pennsylvania incident referred to as “Operation Postage Stamp,” authorities gained information about an illegal plot to smuggle Suboxone into the prison via intercepted calls to prison inmates. In addition to pill format, Suboxone comes in the form of a thin strip similar to breath strips that can be purchased at the grocery store. Interestingly enough, Reckitt Benckiser, the manufacturer of Suboxone, said that this form of the drug is supposed to control misuse as the paper-thin film cannot be crushed or snorted like the pill forms.
The attorney general’s office released a statement that three letters were seized, which had Suboxone hidden underneath the postage stamps. The incident led to the arrest of five inmates who were charged with trying to possess a controlled substance. Six more were arrested for furnishing the drug, and they were charged with attempting to distribute a controlled substance.
What happened in New Jersey was very similar. Inmates coaxed family members and friends to send the drug via coloring books so it could be licked off the pages. Prison officials there were informed by an inmate in February that the drug would be arriving in the form of coloring books and that they would be able to identify it by its orange color. Staff members there say that it is not unusual for inmates to receive coloring pages and drawings on a regular basis – but it was the orange color and the inmate tip that raised red flags.
The scheme in New Jersey has left five individuals – three prisoners and two women who sent the coloring books – facing charges. Authorities say that the tops of the pages read, “To Daddy,” and the use of children in the plot has left many disgusted. Gary Schaffer, Cape May County Sheriff says that he has not seen anything else that compares to it in his 38 year career.
These individuals need to understand that they are not doing themselves or their loved ones any favors by providing these drugs. They are putting their own lives and futures on the line by doing so. Unless they wish to face a future incarcerated themselves, they need to think twice about “helping” their friends and family in this manner.
A Calgary man has found a new home in prison after robbing 10 pharmacies in attempts to feed a drug habit that was spiraling out of control. According to a report in the Vancouver Sun, Cory Alan Sharlow also had a habit of stealing cars to use as his getaway vehicles.
Sharlow committed the crimes during a month-long spree last fall and was recently sentenced to eight years by Provincial court Judge Anne Brown. The judge believed a lengthy sentence was the only appropriate option for Sharlow.
The lengthy term was sought due to the planning involved in each of Sharlow’s crimes. His were not the workings of a desperate man as much as they were a cunning criminal seeking to succeed in his efforts.
Crown prosecutor Marta Juzwiak pushed for as many as 10 years. Juzwiak noted it was clear that Sharlow planned his offences and indicated to police he would scope out a store, notice locations and make notes of times that cashiers were more likely to be alone. He would then steal a vehicle and drive it to the predetermined location.
The stolen car would then be abandoned as Sharlow would arrange for someone else to pick him up at the pre-determined location. With such evidence before him, combined with information Sharlow shared with police, he pleaded guilty to the heists, which included nine in Calgary and one in Okotoks.
In each of the robberies, Sharlow took between $70 and $1,700. Most of the time, he displayed a gun or imitation firearm to get what he wanted.
Broward County, Florida, is considering moratoriums on “pill mills,” which call themselves pain medication clinics but are criticized by locals as serving the sole purpose of prescribing pain medication to anyone who claims they need it.
They are following the lead of Palm Beach, Dania Beach, and other towns that have imposed moratoriums. The pill mills rarely track prescriptions, enabling drug addicts to go to multiple clinics within a short period of time to fill multiple prescriptions for powerful opiate pain killers. Opiate pain killers are highly addictive and one of the leading causes of emergency room visits due to a rising tide of abuse of these prescription drugs. Drugs include OxyContin, oxycodone, and Vicodin, as well as anxiolytics such as Valium and Xanax. They may also be prescribing replacement drugs such as Suboxone without appropriate follow up and therapy.
Critics contend that these pain clinics serve as fronts for physicians willing to dispense excessive amounts of prescription drugs with little or no pain assessment. They have been blamed for supplying addicts and fueling a narcotics trade that is spreading pills throughout the Southeast.
A major concern is that these pill mills are attracting drug traffickers and addicts to these tourist towns. Another concern is the rising number of fatalities due to opiate abuse. Michael Jackson’s death focused attention on prescription-drug abuse fueled by a doctor’s willingness to prescribe multiple drugs in increasing dosages. Florida law enforcement and medical officials blame the pain clinics for increases in overdose deaths, such as the nearly 1,000 deaths in 2009 that involved Oxycodone – 33 per cent more than the previous year. The Florida Medical Examiners Commission reports that prescription drugs accounted for 75 percent of the drugs found in fatalities in 2009, and overdoses from painkillers and antianxiety drugs cause more deaths than cocaine.