The Profits from Synthetic Drugs Sent to The Middle East

synthetic-drugsSynthetic drug use has become increasingly popular over the last few years – chemically synthesized compounds designed to mimic the effects of traditional narcotics. While these drugs are marketed to give potential users the expectation of experiencing a familiar high, the reality is that synthetic marijuana and bath salts have unpredictable side effects that send many users to the emergency room.

New World Drugs Funding the Middle East

In major cities across the country both local and federal Drug Enforcement Administration officials have had to combat the ever growing problem of synthetic drug use. In New York City, Police Commissioner William Bratton is calling synthetic marijuana – “weaponized marijuana,” attributed to a 100 hospital emergency room visits a week, Newsweek reports.

Federal officials have determined that a large portion of the proceeds generated by the sale of synthetic marijuana ends up being funneled to the Middle East. However, there is little evidence to suggest that the funds are supporting terrorism, according to the article. Many of the places that people purchase synthetic drugs are owned by people with Middle Eastern heritage, a possible explanation for the link.

“Many of these investigations continued to uncover the massive flow of drug-related proceeds to countries in the Middle East, including Yemen, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon, as well as other countries,” said the DEA.

Synthetic Drugs at a Glance

The most commonly used synthetic drugs are bath salts and synthetic marijuana. They are sold under a number of different names, such as Spice or K2, and can vary in potency and formula. Such variations, account not only for the unpredictable side effects associated with these drugs, they make it difficult to create bans on the substances. As soon as the government bans a particular formula, the manufacturers simply change the formula to stay ahead of the law.

The side effects of synthetic drugs have been responsible for suicides, homicides, and a large number of hospitalizations throughout the country. Synthetic drugs can become habit forming and lead to addiction. Poison control centers report that the common side effects of use can include:

  • Increased Heart Rate
  • Vomiting
  • Agitation
  • Confusion
  • Hallucinations

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If you are or loved one is using synthetic drugs, please contact Next Step Intervention. We can assist you in finding the right treatment which will help you start your journey of recovery.

DEA Crackdown On Prescription Opioid Narcotics

Operation-PillutedPeople in the United States consume the majority of prescription painkillers made worldwide, which has led to a prescription opioid epidemic. While efforts to curb the problem, such as prescription drug monitoring programs, have yielded some promising results, many addicts have turned to heroin, a cheaper and stronger alternative – creating a new problem. Nevertheless, the fight to end the prescription opioid crisis continues, and on Wednesday, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) announced the results of a four-state prescription drug crackdown, Reuters reports.

The DEAs “Operation Pilluted,” set its sights on the illegal distribution of prescription opioid narcotics. The operation yielded 280 arrests, including:

  • 22 Doctors and Pharmacists
  • $404,828 in Cash Seized
  • 202 Weapons
  • 51 Vehicles

“DEA is committed to reducing the destruction brought on by the trafficking and abuse of prescription drugs through aggressive criminal enforcement, robust administrative oversight, and strong relationships with other law enforcement agencies, the public, and the medical community,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Keith Brown in a statement. “The doctors and pharmacists arrested in Operation Pilluted are nothing more than drug traffickers who prey on the addiction of others while abandoning the Hippocratic Oath adhered to faithfully by thousands of doctors and pharmacists each day across this country.”

Over the course of 15 months, agents involved in Operation Pilluted, observed and arrested people on federal and state criminal charges, according to the article. The operation was headed up by the DEA’s New Orleans Field Division, which resulted in the arrests of individuals in Louisiana, Arkansas, Alabama and Mississippi.

The south, arguably, has been hit the hardest by the prescription drug epidemic. Federal and state officials have been working tirelessly over the last several years to implement prescription drug monitoring programs aimed at doctor shoppers, and to shut down pill mills which were flooding the streets with powerful narcotics. Prescription drug companies have been urged to create abuse-resistant pain medications, drugs that make it more difficult for abusers to tamper with the medications.

The DEA called Operation Pilluted its largest-ever prescription drug operation.

If you are struggling with prescription opioids do not hesitate to call for help.

CVS Agreed to Pay $22 Million for Oxycodone Charges

VicodinThe State of Florida earned reputation for being an easy place to acquire large quantities of highly addictive prescription opioids. Up until the last few years, pain management facilities in Florida, otherwise known as “pill mills,” were places that people could be seen by doctors and leave with multiple prescriptions for opioids, such as OxyContin ® (oxycodone) and Vicodin ® (hydrocodone). It was often the case that abusers would attend multiple clinics in a week and amass loads of pills and then turn around and sell them on the streets for inflated prices.

After a number of years of these types of illicit activities, the state began to crack down; pill mills were closed up, a number of doctors lost their licenses, and some pharmacies had their licenses revoked for dispensing excessive amounts of oxycodone. In 2012, two CVS pharmacies were believed to be selling oxycodone pills that were not prescribed for legitimate medical purposes, Reuters reports. CVS Health Corp has agreed to pay $22 million to resolve the federal investigation.

The DEA had alleged that the two pharmacies were “filling prescriptions far in excess of the legitimate needs of its customers.”

According to a DEA news release, “CVS acknowledged that its retail pharmacies had a responsibility to dispense only those prescriptions that were issued based on legitimate medical need. CVS further acknowledged that certain of its retail stores dispensed certain controlled substances in a manner not fully consistent with their compliance obligations under the Controlled Substances Act and the related regulations.”

Just to give you some perspective, in 2011, the average pharmacy in America ordered approximately 69,000 oxycodone dosage units, according to the DEA. The two CVS pharmacies in question, located less than 6 miles from each other, ordered more than three million units together – during the same time period.

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