I’m wondering if anyone here has any more information on online pharmacies.
Y’see, as I ranted in the Pit a week ago or so, my roommate, who used to be a great friend of mine, has become a serious drug addict and has basically set about ruining both our lives. I just finished moving my stuff out of the apartment last night.
The drug she is addicted to is Fioricet, or its generic equivalent butalbitol/acetominophen/caffeine. Butalbitol is a barbiturate; I’m guessing that’s the addictive part. I mean I know some people are addicted to caffeine but that doesn’t apply to this situation.
She was originally given this medication for treatment of migraines. I forget the mg per pill, but the dose she was given was to take 1-2 per day. She’s 5’10", claims to weigh 120, but when she was healthy and had a decent figure she said she weighed 126… she now has the body of a very skinny teenage boy, I’m guessing probably not even 100 lbs. Since she got the medication back when she was still at a reasonable weight, and since weight is a factor in figuring dosage, the medication is stronger now for her at the same dose, no?
I came home one day in early March and she was stumbling around so you would have thought she’d drunk a fifth of whisky. She said she’d taken 3 of these pills instead of two because she had a really bad headache that wouldn’t go away. I now think she was full of shit and had taken a lot more. I had to go back out (I was working odd hours at the time) but offered to cancel my appointments and take her to the hospital. She refused, and I went back to work reluctantly with her promise to call me regularly and let me know that she was OK. After that she started taking less, so I thought it was a one-time thing.
A month later, she went to Cozumel with her ex-boyfriend. She called me two days later and said she hadn’t had a chance to pick up her prescription so would I please get it and express-mail it to the resort? She had gotten her period early and really needed it. Well, some women do get migraines at “that time,” so this sounded reasonable. Only thing was, Mexican customs wouldn’t allow me to mail it, so she was screwed.
Two days later, she had a seizure. Withdrawal symptoms? I think now it might have been… any medical professionals, please feel free to give me your opinions on this.
For the last few weeks, she’s been taking more and more of these pills. I threatened to move out after she missed a job interview that I had set up for her, because she was too stoned to get out of bed. Mind you, we’ve had this apartment for four months and she is still unemployed. She also hasn’t unpacked 90% of her stuff and there is garbage and dirty dishes all over her room. (She had moved from a different part of the state after breaking up with the ex.) I believe that her ex has been giving her money although she says not… or rather, she says that he owes her money and isn’t giving it to her. But she has it when she wants it. She also has one of his credit cards. Anyway, after I threatened to move out, she promised she would clean up, and made a doctor’s appt the following week.
She was OK on Saturday, the day after this blow-up, because she was with me all day. On Sunday I had prior plans with another group of friends, and she was supposed to start cleaning her room up. She didn’t. I went back to work on Monday and she blew off the doctor’s appt because “it was too long a drive.” On Tuesday she blew off her dog’s vet appt for the fourth time. I started packing and spent the night at my parents’ house.
Thursday, Friday and Saturday, she seemed lucid when I was at the house packing more of my stuff. She was pissed at me for moving, but I figured it was worth it because it had the desired effect: without me to take care of her, she had to do it herself.
Saturday night she called me to accuse me of taking her ice cream scoop. She was pretty obviously stoned. I promised to look for it, and although I knew I didn’t have it, I went downstairs and began sorting through boxes anyway. She called again while I was downstairs, but didn’t leave a message. I figured she was either calling to tell me she found it, since I didn’t, or to pick a fight - she does that a lot when she’s out of it, although mostly with her ex - so I didn’t bother to call back.
Sunday I got there a little after 1 pm. There were pills scattered on the back steps and in the yard, probably 5 or 6 total. The back door was open. The kitchen was trashed. I had three lamps on the radiator, two of which were smashed. The dog’s water dish was empty except for broken glass. The water pitcher was in pieces on the floor. The ironing board had been knocked on the floor as well. My bookcase had been hit hard enough to break two of the shelf supports. I know, 99.9% for sure, that none of this was on purpose, for two reasons. First, I had some wineglasses on the counter that were untouched. Second, this is what she does when she’s stoned - stumbles around, falling into things.
Her bedroom door was open, and I could see her feet and legs on the floor. Her upper body was around the corner of the bed. The bed hadn’t been slept in, she couldn’t have made it so neatly in the state she was in. I called to her a couple of times, and she started trying to yell at me - she’s been very, not really aggressive, but very antagonistic, trying to start fights all the time, since she’s had this problem. Total personality change. I called 911, and the medics took her to the hospital. She refused at first, so they were looking for any basic question that she couldn’t answer so they could “pink slip” her, or take her by force, because even though she was conscious her condition was serious enough that they didn’t want to leave her either. By the time they said they were going to take her because even though she knew her name and address, she didn’t know what day it was, she had agreed to go anyway. (She told me not to call 911 because she was going into rehab anyway. Well, the way she puts things off because she doesn’t “feel like it” I was making damn sure she got there NOW.) She went to the emergency room, and from there to the rehab facility where she is now.
The reason I’m posting this story in this thread is, the emergency room doctor called and asked me for a list of meds she was taking. I had been looking for her glasses, which we couldn’t find when they took her out, and had started gathering up the bottles anyway. She was on a LOT of different meds, but her main addiction problem was the butalbitol cocktail. She had been taking it for everything from cramps to insomnia (hello, it’s got caffeine!!), as well as just so as not to have to deal with anything else. I had suspected for a while that she was getting it from more than one doctor because she seemed to be refilling a 30-day supply every two weeks or so. Turns out I was right about that - she was getting it from at least two different doctors at two different pharmacy chains. There were two empty bottles, one full, and another containing four pills which didn’t look like the one in the other bottle although the label was the same.
There was also a huge bottle of the same stuff that she had apparently gotten online. Five hundred pills. It had no label indicating a prescribing doctor’s name or who it was prescribed for. There was a regular product label indicating that the recommended dose was 1-2 pills every four hours, not to exceed six in 24 hours. So at the maximum daily dose, that’s roughly a 3 month supply if you take it every day. Now, remember that her doctor had given her a dose of 1-2 pills per day, so this should have lasted some 9 months, again, if it was taken daily. And since this was to treat migraines, not prevent them, it wasn’t really intended to be taken daily.
Also remember that she had NONE of this medication in early April. In less than two months, she had gone through some 600 pills that I could account for. Who knows if there are more bottles that I haven’t found yet - you’d need a backhoe to clear her room.
I don’t remember the name of the company that produced the pills she bought online, but it had a US address. It stuns me and pisses me off that she was able to get this type of medication, which is known to be addictive (per WebMD, and obviously per my friend’s experience), so easily and without a written prescription. Nevermind the two doctors who were prescribing it for her, because she was filling those at regular pharmacies too.
I’m extremely concerned about my friend. She’s being taken care of, but apparently it’s not sinking in why she is where she is, because she called another friend and asked her to bring her meds from home. For obvious reasons, she can only have what the hospital she’s in gives her. They are not going to let her have even her blood pressure pills from home - when I was having panic attacks, my birth control pills were doled out to me one per day by the nurse, fer cryin’ out loud. I’m angry at her for letting this happen to her, because when she was lucid, she knew what she was doing to herself.
But I really want to know more about these online pharmacies, because she almost died thanks to some bunch of assholes that made it far too easy for her to get her hands on that much of a controlled substance at one time. She’s only alive for two reasons - the small amount of stimulant mixed into the pills and the fact that I got there when I did. I’m sure that if it’s happened once, she’s not the only one. How many others weren’t found in time?
She’s got an express mail package sitting at the PO right now. They won’t let me pick it up without her signing a release, which I can’t get because she can’t have visitors yet, but one of her other friends and I suspect it’s more pills. Who knows how quickly she would have gone through this batch.