13th Jul 2017

Pensioners selling prescription painkillers to make ends meet

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Pensioners selling prescription painkillers to make ends meet
Leon Della Bosca

Rural doctors and regional health professionals say many cash-strapped pensioners are selling strong prescription painkillers to make ends meet.

As reported to The Courier Mail, a box of painkillers could pull in up to $4000.

The most desired drugs include opioid pills such as OxyContin and MS Contin, as well as Fentanyl patches and medicines prescribed for chronic pain.

Health professionals are warning older Australians that dealers may target them as they approach or leave pharmacies. Dealers are selling OxyContin, also known as ‘Hillbilly Heroin’ for $100, while Fentanyl patches can be cut into smaller units and sold for around $50 a square.



And it’s a temptation that’s difficult to resist for many pensioners living on just $766 a fortnight.

Prescription medications are easier to get then illegal drugs and older Australians provide a regular supply.

“People know; they talk about it and know the old bloke up the street is getting paid this and, ‘Oh gee, I can get $500 and all I have to do is give you some tablets’,” said Queensland Dr Ken Treichel.

AMAQ president Dr Christian Rowan said the targeting of older people for their medication was becoming a “real and known problem”.

Drug and Serious Crime Group Sergeant Adam Frost said that he has caught people of all ages, including pensioners, buying and selling drugs.

“It’s not an excuse – a 78-year-old on the pension and finding it tough might resort to that sort of supplementary income,” Sgt Frost.

“There is a need to maintain a watching brief on this issue, because where there is a demand for the illicit use of these drugs and an opportunity for profit through illicit sales exists, organised crime is generally not too far behind.”

Do you know of anyone who has had to sell their prescription medicine just to make ends meet? Are you aware of such things happening?

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COMMENTS

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Aquarian
13th Jul 2017
10:34am
I wasn't aware of this, but thanks for the idea!
Hobbit
13th Jul 2017
11:02am
LOL
Jennie
13th Jul 2017
11:11am
If I had any pain meds I would sell them as opiates make me vomit!
jackie
13th Jul 2017
2:28pm
They can't be in so much pain then and doctors are over prescribing them.
Rosret
13th Jul 2017
6:15pm
Agreed - I wonder how to find a buyer? hehe
ray from Bondi
13th Jul 2017
8:07pm
Personally, I think there is something else going on, it sounds like more Orwellian rhetoric where people are not going to be able to access painkillers even if really really needed, I am not saying this goes on but just how big a problem is it, I have no idea but it would only be a percentage, if you think out it the headline is pensioners trying to make ends meet, I would suggest that the poor and disadvantaged have been put under huge financial pressure with ongoing government policies.
Old Geezer
13th Jul 2017
11:35am
This started happening back when prescriptions were free to pensioners and virtually everything could have a script written for it.
ray from Bondi
13th Jul 2017
8:10pm
yes they were the good old days when there was full employment, hardly any unemployed and the government could pay, now the government has seen any productive job go overseas due to their policies overseas and it can not afford to look after the population, now any excuse to cut back on anything is used.
P$cript
13th Jul 2017
8:47pm
So this is where you get all your money OG.
PlanB
13th Jul 2017
11:50am
I have heard of this but I would not care if it is a pensioner OR whoever -- to do such a thing is unforgivable!

IF there have been ANY tablets I proved to be unable to take because they did not agree with me, I took them back to the chemist for them to incinerate, as I would not put them in the BIN OR down the drain because of the damage they may do to wild life and or anyone else.
Please do the right thing with medications
Theo1943
13th Jul 2017
12:27pm
And, because there was no record of their return, the chemist onsold them to whom?
PlanB
13th Jul 2017
12:37pm
Very possible Theo, however, I have no doubt I did the right thing and can only hope they did too.
Theo1943
13th Jul 2017
12:53pm
Chemists are more trustworthy than the rest of the population because they have a Uni degree?
I wonder how many are addicted to drugs?
PlanB
13th Jul 2017
3:04pm
Maybe about the same as Drs / Dentists / Ambulance folk and nurses
Rosret
13th Jul 2017
6:21pm
So serious PlanB. The article actually made me smile. I can just visualise Nana and Granddad standing at the corner handing out their meds.
Actually its more common with the young ADHD kids to on sell their medication. After all they know the market better than the Grannies.
AutumnOz
13th Jul 2017
12:02pm
I hadn't heard of this practice either. It can't be too widespread or the media would have been yelling about it earlier. Probably more fake news to cause trouble for many older folk.
If people can sell off their prescription medication(s) then perhaps they do not really need it.
Most reputable doctors only prescribe pain controllers for those who really need the help. Nothing really kills the pain it can only control it for a short time.
Anne Ozzie
13th Jul 2017
12:13pm
Totally agree AutumnOz FAKE NEWS - think it is a ploy put out there so the lousy Liberal government cancel the low paying script system for pensioners and those on seniors health cards. Believe me to be given oxycodeine script these days you have to be recovering from clearly defined 5-14 hour operations and serious illnesses or accidents. Lord - how to get even an over the counter medication that contains codeine,, like Panadeine you have to present your driver's licence and have a very good reason for asking for it.
PlanB
13th Jul 2017
12:20pm
It was on the news one night some time ago -- I agree if you can afford to sell them then you do not need them and are lying to the Dr -- if you do or would sell them then you are no better than a scum drug dealer
Old Geezer
13th Jul 2017
12:43pm
Most doctors will give you a script for them if you ask today.
Theo1943
13th Jul 2017
12:55pm
Not new, I heard about this some years ago. It is quite easy to get a script for painkillers if you're a pensioner, whether you actually need them or not. "Doctor, I have this constant pain. Oxycotin would help."
Sen.Cit.84
13th Jul 2017
1:09pm
Yes AutumnOz, News to me also (heard first time today). I agree with your comments
AutumnOz
13th Jul 2017
2:03pm
Anne Ozzie - I live in a rural area and everyone knows everyone else so I have no trouble buying Panadeine as the local chemist knows our family. I can't imagine why anyone would buy these things if they didn't need them to control pain.
PlanB - I agree with you about people being drug dealers if they sell their medication.
Old Geezer - there you go again making unsupported generalisations about doctors.
Theo1943 - You must have some very dishonest doctors in your area if what you say is the truth.
ray from Bondi
13th Jul 2017
8:13pm
I agree with you 100% why now???, this would have been going on one way or another for many years but I do not believe it is wide spread, is this the first volley in another needed medication being removed??
johnp
13th Jul 2017
12:06pm
I agree with Aquarian now that I know about that we can set up business ;-)
Joy Anne
13th Jul 2017
2:46pm
Yes I agree Aquarian. I have struggled since last year with living on the pension. I pay 60% in rent. Then I have a mobile, electricity, car, etc.
The Turnbull govt has screwed us pensioners. I can't afford to go out even for a coffee.
Medication is double the price of PBS as if you don't use the generic then you pay at least $5 more for your scripts. I found this out yesterday when I had to get a new script. I cannot stomach the generic, it is the compound which it is made up of.
PlanB
13th Jul 2017
3:16pm
Yes Joy Anne -- they promised NO change to Medicare etc etc -- but the bastards keep cutting bit by bloody bit, did the same last year too AND put up the amount you had to get on the PBS b4 you got free ones -- they are lying low lives.
heemskerk99
13th Jul 2017
5:54pm
joy anne,
get yourself another pharmacy, the most they can charge you when your doctor's prescription states no generic allowed and with your pensioner card is $ 6.99 per prescription, however if this is not stated then one might have to pay $ 1.00 extra per prescription for refusing the generic medication.
as for planb remarks, everybody, even pensioners should realise that we all have to contribute to our needs and health, just be happy you are a pensioner and have to contribute less then one percent towards the cost of these medications, be happy to still be able to see the sun rise in the mornining and to see the moon during the night without having to pay a fee, just remember when you can't no longer see these wonders, you are 6 feet under.
PlanB
13th Jul 2017
6:05pm
heemskerk, I am very grateful for my pension but the point is these lying scum say NO changes and then go ahead and make changes --- why lie?
heemskerk99
14th Jul 2017
7:33pm
planb, what changes, it was the labor government who brought in the payment for the prescriptions of pensioners and upped these for non pensioners, see rudd's and gillard's financial budget statements during their reign, yes to-days government put an extra dollar per prescription on but you obliviously have forgotten it was labor who in the first place started to charge $ 4.90 per prescription for pensioners but of course, you being a one eyed laborite these facts are so conviently and easily forgotten, call this government what you want it will not wipe out the truth about the previous labor government grotesque attempt to govern this country which has resulted into the mess we are recently in, it was that labor government who inherited a fortune of a 100 billion dollars windfall and then to finish 300 billion in the red within 5 years and you still believe the sun shines out of their a.se, yet now the time has arrived for the people to pay for these labor grandiose plans, even if you believed in them or not, we all have to pay for those castles in the sky, it also has shown us to think before you put your X on your voting paper, to look for, not just your's but the betterment of everybody in this great country we call AUSTRALIA
Old Geezer
17th Jul 2017
11:44am
Just remember the rest of us pay $38.80 and sometimes more for a prescription now so even $5 extra is not much extra to pay.

By the way there is no difference is the compound of generic and real drugs.
PlanB
17th Jul 2017
2:01pm
Old Geezer, there are some differences in the fillers of some drugs that people can be allergic to and yes $5 is a lot if you are on a pension, I know that those that are not on a pension have to pay a lot as my son has too, plus pay a heap for tests etc
AutumnOz
13th Jul 2017
4:57pm
This story has made it to the ABC online - it is worth reading.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-07-13/elderly-people-rural-towns-forced-to-sell-prescription-drugs/8702098
Oldman Roo
13th Jul 2017
6:41pm
I can only agree with Autumnoz and Anne Ozzie , I have never heard of anything like it and know a lot of Pensioners . There may be some very isolated cases but generally my question is : where are the statistics of prosecutions on Pensioners selling their prescriptions ?
Raphael
13th Jul 2017
10:21pm
To make ends meet ?
Don't be daft

Just trailer trash who are rorting the system just like when they were on the dole
johnp
14th Jul 2017
8:55am
I noticed that the pollies got 2% pay rise. Believe that at that rate just the increase they received was almost equal to the max rate single old aged pension. Am I right there ?? If so we live in an obscene age same as the dark and middle ages of serfs and kings !!
Ed
14th Jul 2017
1:41pm
Lets get to the real nitty gritty of this problem Sgt. Frost,because I noticed you said nothing about the new drug pushers on the block,ie; Medical practitioners,it's easier to get a script for oxy's and M.S Contin than buying an ice cream cone, if they were a bit more vigilant with how they gave out these powerful drug's a lot of the problem would go away.
PlanB
15th Jul 2017
9:11am
I note that on -- Late night live --- there was a bit about people getting prescription drugs by any means possible -- form young people to older people -- it is down right frighting, can't really blame the Drs for this.
musicveg
16th Jul 2017
6:29pm
Yes I knew of these meds being sold on the black market, has been happening for years and is wide spread (maybe not pensioners but younger people). My brother was 58 when he died (complications from medication, not an overdose) and the coronary report showed he had all those meds in his system. He had a huge bag of meds in his flat when found all given to him without doctor shopping, all from one doctor as they traced it as part of the investigation. He also told family that he sold them on so he could get money for other things. It is very common. Big pharma and doctors are to blame for over prescribing and they are laughing all the way to the bank. It has been happening in USA for even longer with devastating consequences. The only answer is for a system that records every one of these drugs you buy and how often, or take them off the market. They are dangerous and damaging to your liver and will not take the pain away, only temporary and then you need more for the pain, it never works, get to the cause of your pain. Check out the documentary Oxyana about the effects of OxyContin a very evil drug.And big pharma should be held responsible as they know about the side effects and how addictive it is.
PlanB
17th Jul 2017
7:44am
There are cases musicveg, when there is NOTHING that can be done to eliminate pain because of the problem a person has -- so many times they have to rely on these horrid drugs -- makes me wonder IF the NEW Cannabis will be a better outcome for pain??? of course the Big Pharma will not want it UNLESS they have a big stake in it -- as you say they are laughing all the way to the bank and don't give a flying hoot about the damage they do -- just want everyone on as many pills as they can get them on.

I would have thought that every script you got was recorded? I go to the same chemist and always ask them if any tablet I have been given are compatible -- as the Drs do not have a clue - and I had acute kidney failure due to a Dr giving me 2 pills that were deadly to the kidneys given together.

I will read that about the OxyContin thanks for the info
Old Geezer
17th Jul 2017
11:46am
OxyContin is a wonderful drug if used well.
KB
18th Jul 2017
12:44pm
How can pensioners afford ti buy painkillers in the first place? Chemists need to be more wary of customers.Doctors are over prescribing Any unwanted medicine of mine ends back at the chemist to be deposed if properly less for landfill. I was told by a RDN nurse that some medication goes to poorer countries.


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