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Old 07-29-2009, 05:19 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Red-flagging pharmacy records

From what I have read about pharmacies on SR, I had gotten the impression that it's possible for pharmacies to flag a person's account for narcotic abuse. I asked to have my account flagged because I want to make it as difficult as possible to get pills. The pharmacist informed me that he couldn't do that. In fact, his rather naive response was, "If you don't want narcotics, just don't bring the script in to get filled." If only it were that simple! Unfortunately, it's not, at least not for this addict.

Although I've contacted my doctors, I was hoping to lessen the temptation to make hospital runs or walk-in visits if/when the insanity in my head starts-up. Have I misunderstood that pharmacies are able to flag files of suspected narcotics abusers? This was a major-chain pharmacy.
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Old 07-29-2009, 05:29 AM   #2 (permalink)
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A large number of states (half or more) have established centralized databases to monitor patients' prescriptions and prevent them from obtaining multiple scripts.

The big question is whether the systems allow law enforcement access to the system. For example, Alabama's law allows law enforcement to access it with probable cause:

Prescription Drugs: Alabama to Join Growing List of States Tracking Prescriptions

There's no doubt that some states are arresting patients on this basis as well. See Kentucky, for example, were some 19 patients were recently arrested:

A two-day roundup netted 19 people arrested on charges of prescription drug fraud and related offenses, said the commissioner of the Kentucky Bureau of Investigation.

The sweep began yesterday in Franklin County, where 10 were arrested, and continued today in Woodford County, where there were nine arrests, said David James.

All the individuals in Woodford County were wanted on charges of obtaining a controlled substance by fraud or deceit, also known as "doctor shopping." In that form of prescription drug fraud, a person goes to multiple physicians to obtain duplicate prescriptions of controlled substances.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, at least 20 states have established similar databases. They are California, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming.
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Old 07-29-2009, 05:46 AM   #3 (permalink)
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The big question is whether the systems allow law enforcement access to the system.
Thanks, Timebuster. Might I re-route the big question here and ask: do current pharmacy systems allow for patient records to be flagged? (Hell! I'll even add my record to the national data base if they'll allow me. But, I might not be so willing tomorrow, if you know what I mean.)
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Old 07-29-2009, 05:53 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I think they do. Not sure if you saw my thread about doctor shopping but my friend couldnt get her prescription filled because she was getting them too often or something.
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Old 07-29-2009, 06:06 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I listed any potential narcotic as an allergy. It automatically red flags.
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Old 07-29-2009, 06:14 AM   #6 (permalink)
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OMG Bear, that's a great idea!!! Now that's using your noggin!
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Old 07-29-2009, 06:19 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I listed any potential narcotic as an allergy. It automatically red flags.
I thought about doing this, but wondered what would happen with surgeries. (I have a pending foot surgery that, knowing that I'll need pain meds, I'm postpoing as long as possible so that I can get some recovery time under my belt). Does flagging narcotics as an allergy simply mean that the pharmacist will call your doctor before filling it? If that's the case, then the allergy route will work.
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Old 07-29-2009, 06:21 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Not sure if you saw my thread about doctor shopping
Yes, Nalla, I did. Actually, it was your thread that prompted me to post my question in light of my experience at the pharmacy yesterday. Thanks.
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Old 07-29-2009, 06:57 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I thought about doing this, but wondered what would happen with surgeries.
Well then, no matter what route you take you'll have some difficulty. There really is no way to ask a pharmacy to restrict narcs if you believe you're going to need/use them in the future. It's kind of like saying "Don't fill this unless I tell you I really, really need them."

Worst case scenario, you can lift an allergy restriction yourself, or your doctor can. Any other "red flag" would likely be permanent. However, expect some raised eyebrows if you present a narc script after listing them as an allergy.
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Old 07-29-2009, 08:25 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Well then, no matter what route you take you'll have some difficulty. There really is no way to ask a pharmacy to restrict narcs if you believe you're going to need/use them in the future. It's kind of like saying "Don't fill this unless I tell you I really, really need them."
That's a bit of a pickle because that's pretty much exactly what I'm saying: Don't fill a script for narcotics unless my doctor confirms that I REALLY, REALLY LEGITIMATELY (DID I SAY REALLY?) need the script.

Believe me, the thought of having to need pain meds makes me very afraid to have the surgery. The obsession gets so unbelievably overwhelming and my powerlessness in the face of that obsession is a mere few days removed from me. So, I'm in dread of awaking the monster once it has been successfully quieted -- so much so that, ultimately, I may choose to curtail my activities in order to tolerate the chronic pain indefinitely.
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Old 07-29-2009, 09:49 AM   #11 (permalink)
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You might want to try Lyrica if you haven't, besides opiates it seems to be the best painkiller available.
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Old 07-29-2009, 10:47 AM   #12 (permalink)
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You can opt for non-narc/non-opiate painkillers after surgeries too.. many people really ARE allergic, or like me, choose not to take them and need other options. We can withstand a lot more pain than we usually think
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Old 07-29-2009, 10:59 AM   #13 (permalink)
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As I stated before....I can take a lot more pain nowadays and Motrin really seems to help, if ya give it a chance. After being addcited to opiates for more than ten year, the memory of detox keeps me from ever wanting to take a narcotic pain pill again!
If I have to go see a doctor or dentist, I always bring my husband, dad or someone who knows I'm an addict to insure that if I don't tell the doc or dentist that I'm an addict, they will.
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Old 07-29-2009, 01:32 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Christen,

Next month I will be going in for surgery. Torn meniscus in the right knee. I have no family members or a significant other to dispense medication. It would be totally my responsibility to take my medication as prescribe or as needed. What I do have is a very, very strong foundation in recovery, a strong conscious contact with my higher power of my understanding.

Also, I have a sponsor and a network of friends from my home group who would put there foot were the sun don’t shine if I don’t take the medication as prescribe. They are my red flaggers.

Seriously, I will be off my feet for the first week and they well be comeing to my house to help out by offering support and by sharing there experience, strength, and hope, and care, love, and concern.

But I do understand your concerns though.

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Old 07-29-2009, 09:22 PM   #15 (permalink)
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(((Christin)))

My stepsister went into detox for Klonopin. I discussed with her about notifying her pharmacies, but told her not to do it until she was ready to not take Klonopin again. To my surprise, within a couple of days, she notified all her pharmacies that she had recently been to detox for addiction to Klonopin and wanted it noted on her record that she was not to have Klonopin dispensed to her, under any circumstances.

All pharmacists were cooperative. She also has heart abnormalities and says that certain medications are "black flagged" because of this issue, so they are not given to her without a doctor's approval by phone and this includes some pain medications.

So, yes, I do know that you can do what you are asking, but it seems you would never be able to obtain a pain medication if you did this? Perhaps have one pharmacist that you have the agreement with "never dispense pain medication to me without phone approval by my dr.", unless manipulating your dr. is a problem.

Hugs and prayers!

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Old 07-29-2009, 09:44 PM   #16 (permalink)
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I have a block on narcotics through my health insurance. They were glad to do it.

I guess I could get one filled without insurance, but I've never tried to do it.

I filled a script for T3 the other day for my daughter (she's 11) and my husband had to pick it up because the insurance had my name flagged. Fine with me.

I just moved to a new state and am not interested in filling any narcotics here for myself, the script for my Z-pack for strep..now that is another story.
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Old 07-30-2009, 03:54 AM   #17 (permalink)
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All pharmacists were cooperative. She also has heart abnormalities and says that certain medications are "black flagged" because of this issue, so they are not given to her without a doctor's approval by phone and this includes some pain medications.
This is what I was under the impression could be done. If your stepsister used a major pharmacy chain, would you mind sendng me a PM with the name of it. Perhaps I could start with speaking to a pharmacist of that particular chain to get the specifics of what I should be requesting in order to have done what I would like to have done.
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Old 07-30-2009, 07:00 AM   #18 (permalink)
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((Christin)) - she didn't use just one pharmacy chain...a couple were local, but I'll pm them to you. It can be done, and she knew it, so she wouldn't have taken "no" for an answer (she's tiny but VERY insisten).

Hugs and prayers!

Amy
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Old 07-30-2009, 07:39 AM   #19 (permalink)
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when i went in to my clinic and in to my ob/gyn, there were boxes for past surgeries, different diseases (cancer, diabetes, etc.), and other stuff that you check yes or no, depending on what you've got and what you don't. there was also one for alcoholism and one for drug addiction. i checked yes. no one will give me anything besides extra strength ibuprofen or aleve now... unless i come in a number of times to be seen, and then they determine it's appropriate (like when i had killer bronchitis two years ago and they gave me cough syrup w/ codeine). maybe that'll work?
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Old 07-30-2009, 07:43 AM   #20 (permalink)
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when i went in to my clinic and in to my ob/gyn, there were boxes for past surgeries, different diseases (cancer, diabetes, etc.), and other stuff that you check yes or no, depending on what you've got and what you don't. there was also one for alcoholism and one for drug addiction. i checked yes.
Thanks, Emimily. I have notified my doctors. It's the occasional (or not-so-occasional) trip to the ER or Walk-in that I'm afraid could result in a script when I have less than a sober mind.
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