The New Drug Fad, Same as the Old Drug FadApril 21st, 2009 by josh farley
What’s the fastest growing drug problem in America? Here are some clues to help you figure it out:
- It’s popular with teens: about 19 percent of them have tried it.
- In six years, from 2000 to 2006, the number of Americans using it rose 80 percent from 3.8 million abusers to 7 million (more than the number of Americans abusing cocaine, heroin, hallucinogens, and inhalants combined).
- Scarily, it now causes more drug overdose deaths than cocaine and heroin combined.
Read on to find the answer — and a startling bust conducted by the federal DEA. Oh, and to find out more than you ever wanted to know about this drug, check out our blog’s category on the subject here.
The drug is the opiate. Only it isn’t just hitting the streets as heroin anymore, but coming into your home as an advanced form of painkiller. OxyContin, Percocet and Vicodin are all forms of it, and when used safely, are miraculous in the benefits patients can receive.
Too often these days, however, its highly addictive nature is driving droves to get hooked on it.
For those of you who follow this blog and our paper, I apologize: you have heard all of this before.
But here’s the latest alarming case from the DEA: Dr. Peter Pfeiffer, MD, a physician and anesthesiologist in Bellingham.
Here’s the DEA’s press releaset:
Dr. Pfeiffer has been the subject of a DEA investigation that alleges that since November 2008, Dr. Pfeiffer has prescribed controlled substances to hundreds of individuals throughout the United States via the Internet, based on online questionnaires, submissions of unverified medical records, and/or long-distance telephone consultations. The prescriptions were issued for other than legitimate medical purposes, and outside the scope of professional practice. Dr. Pfeiffer allegedly failed to establish a valid physician-patient relationship as required by multiple state laws and federal law. Virtually all of Dr. Pfeiffer’s prescriptions were for hydrocodone, a Schedule III controlled substance, and highly addictive and abused pain killer. Between November 28, 2008 and February 13, 2009, Dr. Pfeiffer authorized 34,300 dosage units of hydrocodone for individuals in 12 states. All but one of the prescriptions was issued for 90 pill quantities of hydrocodone.
“The Drug Enforcement Administration is committed to keeping our community safe from those who facilitate and enable the abuse of prescription drugs purchased over the Internet,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Arnold R. Moorin. “Drug traffickers who push pills over the Internet, operate without regard for public safety or medical necessity. This action is an important step toward ensuring accountability of those who are supplying these pills.”
All medical practitioners must be registered with the DEA in order to prescribe, administer, and/or dispense controlled substances. The effect of the DEA action is to immediately prohibit Dr. Pfeiffer from any further prescribing and administering of controlled substances. The DEA’s investigation has determined that the continued registration of Dr. Pfeiffer constitutes an imminent danger to public health and safety.
Dr. Pfeiffer received written notice of the factual and legal basis for this action. In addition, he was given an opportunity for an administrative hearing within the next 60 days. On April 17, 2009, Dr. Pfeiffer voluntarily surrendered his DEA registration number in lieu of an administrative hearing.