The ongoing drug war has for years been focused on cutting down both the supply and the demand for illegal narcotics worldwide. According to a new study released by the United Nations, that effort appears to be unsuccessful.
The study, released by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) released on June 26, 2018, indicates that global supply of both cocaine and heroin has hit record highs. The study reflects that supplies of cocaine in 2016 were the highest on record. Likewise, opium production broke all previous records in 2016 and again in 2017.
These traditional drugs aren't the only major threat that appears to be expanding. Non-medical abuse of prescription drugs including fentanyl has become a public health crisis in multiple countries. The United States, in particular, has been hit with an explosion of fentanyl-related overdose deaths.
Across the globe, drug-related deaths climbed to approximately 450,000 in 2015. Of those deaths, 40% of them were a result of an overdose. Of those, the primary contributor was opioids. The remaining 60% of deaths were indirectly caused by drug use. This includes anything from death caused by illness brought on by unsafe needle injections.
The report specifically highlights the steep increase of prescription drug abuse and how it varies between countries. The United States and Canada face an epidemic of abuse from fentanyl and other drugs like it. Other countries are battling different prescription drug abuses, however. In Asia and parts of Africa, non-medical use of the opioid painkiller Tramadol has been increasing drastically.
Researchers point to vastly increased drug production in certain parts of the globe as at least a partial cause. "The real problematic issues for us have been the increase in opium production in Afghanistan and the massive increase in cocaine production, particularly because of Colombia," says Thomas Pietschmann, one of the primary authors of the UNODC World Report.
Prescription Drug Regulations in Washington State
Washington lawmakers recognized the growing problem of prescription drug abuse, and amended Section RCW 69.50.308 of the Uniform Controlled Substance Act to include tighter controls over how drugs are prescribed. These regulations include:
- Unless a doctor gives a drug directly to the patient, a Schedule II drug cannot be dispensed without the written or electronic prescription from a doctor.
- If the prescription is transmitted through a fax, it must come directly from the doctor's office.
- A prescription for a Schedule II drug may not be refilled and must be filled within six months of its issue.
- Unless a doctor gives a drug directly to the patient, a Schedule III, IV, or V prescription drug cannot be dispensed without the written, oral or electronic prescription from a doctor.
- Oral prescriptions must immediately be followed up in writing.
- A prescription for a Schedule III, IV, or V drug may not be refilled more than five times and must be filled and refilled within six months of its issue.
- The prescription must be issued by a doctor under good faith that it is medically necessary to the patient.
- A doctor cannot write a Schedule II, III, or IV drug prescription for themselves for personal use.
Have you been charged with prescription drug fraud in the Seattle area? If so, attorney Steve Karimi can help. Contact the Law Offices of Steve Karimi to set up your free consultation.