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Posts Tagged ‘prescription drug abuse’

Troopers can applicant that ‘borrowed’ prescription drugs

Thursday, September 20th, 2012

The Washington State Patrol’s recruiters are “concerned” that an undisclosed number of applicants have disclosed they’ve borrowed from prescription drugs from friends and family for their own medical problems, the patrol said in a news release Thursday. 

“Concerned,” perhaps, but it should not come as a surprise. Starting in the 1990s, prescription opiate drugs, in particular, began to be prescribed at much higher rates. The many consequences of that have been documented by news media around the country, including in our very own Kitsap Sun. And, as there are just way more of these potent pain-killing drugs out there, I don’t think it comes as a shock to anyone that they’re also being “borrowed” more often, too.

That doesn’t make it right and the state patrol points out that such borrowing is a felony crime in no uncertain terms.

The patrol said an applicant has been disqualified for borrowing prescription drugs. Here’s the full news release:

(Olympia)—Recruiters at the Washington State Patrol are concerned about the number of State Patrol applicants who report using prescription drugs obtained from friends or relatives for otherwise legitimate medical issues.

It’s dangerous to use prescription medicine that’s been prescribed to someone else. Those with aspirations of working in law enforcement need to know it’s also a felony crime.

“These candidates may have taken the drugs for legitimate medical conditions, and might well have been prescribed the same drugs had they gone to a doctor,” said Capt. Jeff DeVere, commander of the Patrol’s Human Resource Division. “Getting them from a friend is an illegal drug transaction, and will likely disqualify you from employment as a State Trooper.”

A coming wave of retirements among troopers means that the Patrol is hiring at an unprecedented rate. Several months ago, the Patrol struggled to find candidates who were in sufficiently good physical condition. After a wave of public education, candidates are showing up ready to do sit-ups, push-ups and to run.

Now, prescription drug use is the latest obstacle to hiring.

“If you roll your ankle playing pickup basketball, or get a migraine during finals week, go to your doctor not your roommate,” DeVere said.

In doing background investigations, the State Patrol looks at the entire person and not just isolated incidents. However, any kind of illegal drug use places a burden on the candidate that is hard to overcome.

The Patrol is not concerned about drugs, of whatever type, that might have been legally prescribed by a doctor. A medical exam that includes disclosure of current medical conditions is a separate part of the hiring process. That exam will determine if the applicant is in good enough health to perform the essential job functions of a trooper.

 


The latest drug trends across America

Thursday, July 28th, 2011

In June, I had the chance to attend a conference in Seattle of some of the smartest minds in America when it comes to monitoring drug abuse. While each gave a presentation about cities and areas across the nation, I found particularly interesting just one sheet of paper that they passed around.

Across the top of the page, various drugs — cocaine, heroin, other opiates, meth, marijuana and synthetics — were listed. In each column below, each expert from the cities and areas listed the current trends — up, down, or otherwise — for each drug.

Please take a look at the page. But I’ll also provide a short synopsis of my own interpretation of it, as discussed at the Community Epidemiology Work Group in Seattle June 8-10.

Cocaine: Clearly down across the country. Its high price, even during the recession, has made it rather cost prohibitive for users, various epidemiologists pointed out at the meeting. There were a few exceptions: New York City and “vacationland” Maine, two of the richest areas of the country.

Heroin: Results were mixed but some areas have experienced a surge, including our own, which is denoted with “young adult,” being part of the trend. Readers of our paper will no doubt already know that heroin has experienced a huge resurgence here.

Other opiates: Wow. The country is clearly grappling with prescription pill addiction.

Meth: This one may surprise you. Though so much attention is given to this particularly dirty drug, most areas reported its use is stable or decreasing. So-called “precursor” laws have obviously had an impact in keeping meth’s key ingredient, pseudoephedrine, out of the hands that would cook it themselves. But more complex drug enterprises appear to have made up for that lack of mom-and-pop meth shops.

Marijuana: The results from the group were pretty clear. Marijuana continues to grow in use and abuse, achieving the “high” label amongst many of the epidemiologists present. The growing number of people who believe it should be legalized, or at least recognized as having medical benefits, continues to push the upward trend.

Synthetics: The group either needed more time to investigate or found that synthetics, be it PCP or MDMA, were on the rise.

Notice alcohol, not an illicit drug is not on the list. Yet this drug, above all others, is more abused than any other.

Note: The circling of some notes in the heroin column are mine, as I attended the conference when it was the main topic of conversation. Otherwise, it is each expert’s notes.


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