The fentanyl crisis in the United States, with approximately twenty emergencies per year in the community and the first cases of addiction, focuses on a similar problem. This is among those who seek drugs illegally, often through three routes: attempts without a doctor’s prescription, false prescriptions and, if a face-to-face encounter with a pharmacist fails, via the Internet. Acquisition from.
“Drugs are not toys,” says Vicente Colomar, provincial secretary of the College of Pharmacists of Valencia. The experience of those working in more than 1,200 pharmacies in the province allows us to know what the illegal search for these health products is like, the motivations and also the risks that they recognize and try to prevent.
And they’ve got it all: from mafias who want to stockpile anxiolytics for drug manufacturing, to young people who are looking for the spray for injuries due to its effects or a growing problem when inhaled: from men who Don’t dare to go to the doctor and ask for medicine for the pain. Erectile dysfunction without relevant prescription. “Or others who have no erection problems may just want the pills because they want to have sex more often in a shorter period of time.”
And amidst all this, there are two latent risks: from drug abuse that can eventually lead to addiction and from uncontrolled lending of pills among family or friends who mistakenly think “that’s good for someone.” May be useful to others”. This is something that pharmacists know about “and it is impossible to detect or quantify.”
1. Mafia looking for Rivotrail
An organized group has descended into the community, armed with false prescriptions, trying by all means to obtain Rivotril: a powerful anxiolytic from the group of benzodiazepines. They are young people who work alone, moving from here to there and trying their luck in pharmacies throughout the province.
“The purpose of this is to combine it with other substances to make medicines,” explains Colomer. They mix it with hashish to make ‘karkoubi’, a psychoactive substance widely consumed in deprived areas of Morocco. Pharmacists raised concerns over a series of procurement efforts with the same common denominator.
A Civil Guard operation in Valencia this summer confirmed the great illicit interest in drugs among drug traffickers. Local police in Pedralba discovered that many minors were suffering severe poisoning by mixing the drug with alcohol during gang encounters.
Agents seized several bottles of Rivotril and began investigating how he obtained the prescription product without becoming ill. The investigation led them to a doctor’s son. He was the one who reportedly distributed the doses. He received prescription drugs from his mother, who was arrested. Then he went to various pharmacies with the prescription in hand so as not to arouse suspicion.
But the search continues. Patricia Roca works at Broughton’s Castano Pharmacy in Trace Forks. “If we talk about fake prescriptions, Rivotril is the star drug,” he reveals. “Young people over the age of 30 in North Africa usually seek it out,” he explains, “and with a paper that Come up that’s clearly not legal.” In his medicine office he wrote, “About two attempts a month, the last about 20 days ago.”
How do they detect lies? “They tend to be specific private insurance prescriptions where, for example, the prescription number is missing or appear to be doctors whose names, after checking, we see that they are not in the database of Spanish members.” Other times they are “simple photocopies”.
Sometimes pharmacists have tried to combat the problem by placing counterfeit prescriptions. “But some of these mafias get very angry and clash with us,” Dispensary revealed. The alternative is to make a photocopy and immediately alert the school to generate an alert among professionals. In Valencian pharmacies the war against ‘Carcubi’ or the destructive cocktail of Rivotril and alcohol is waged day after day.
2. Take Viagra without a prescription: Embarrassing or young people looking for ‘super strength’
Erectile dysfunction affects 30% of men in Valencia. This is the figure reported by Clinicas de Test, one of the centers specializing in treatment in Valencia. And, as pharmacists know, not everyone is willing to go to the doctor for treatment. Of course, they look for the pill in question.
“These are people who ask for Viagra or Cialis without a prescription. And they go away empty handed. The reason behind this is embarrassment about going to the doctor, but in other cases there is also a very different motivation, which is to have a lot of sex in a short period of time,” explains Colomer.
The latter is a growing phenomenon linked to the consumption of pornography among adolescents and young people and their tendency to reproduce the scenes they see on their mobile screens. “And they are very young children. This gives me the impression that some people may also try to resell the pills because it is not common,” says pharmacist Roca.
Colomer explains the risks of taking these drugs without medical supervision: “Tadalafil (the active ingredient in Cialis) and sidenafil (Viagra) both work by widening blood vessels.” The wider the width of these tubes, the greater the flow to achieve the desired height of the sexual organ. “But there are also people who may be affected if they suffer from heart problems, which is why it is important to go to a doctor first and have them authorize a prescription after the risks have been ruled out.”
The experience of pharmacists shows that a large part of the Valencian male population is willing to obtain erection pills outside in a legal and desirable way for health. Given the inaccessibility of non-prescription pills to pharmacies, piracy of these drugs is limited to very wide offerings on the Internet. But at what cost? From what dangers? For example, it is enough to type “Cialis online without prescription” in a search engine to arrive at one of the many websites where tablets are sold at prices significantly lower than the legal market.
Everything appears there: Cialis, Viagra, Cenaforce, Highforce, Kamagra… We show the website to the Tres Forks pharmacist and she puts her hands on her head: “Oh my God! But if it advertised Cialis for 200 And the maximum dose sold in Spain is 20 mg. What is it? “This place looks very bad.”
Another detail attracts Roca’s attention: «If we take into account the price of the box, they are selling a 20 mg tablet for 5 euros, while its legal price is 20. If it is not a scam regarding low prices. That is…”.
3. Chlorethyl: The hurt spray that some young people want to smell
The ‘high’ or addiction caused by sniffing gum is already well known. And something similar happens with chlorethyl. Even if we don’t think, we know it. “This is the spray with which football team doctors treat athletes who suffer a concussion or injury during a match,” explains the secretary of the College of Pharmacists.
As the drug information organization Energy Control describes, “It is used as a local anesthetic in sports medicine, as it helps reduce the pain of muscle cramps.” This is cryoanesthesia, which provides the injured person with an intense feeling of cold up to -200 degrees in the affected area. And this brings relief.
The problem is that when inhaled it creates an awe that takes hold of some youngsters and haunts them. They link energy control to sensations ranging from “excitement, giddiness, disconnection from the environment, changes in time perception or uncontrolled laughter”.
Sometime before 2019, it became a health product from a prescription drug. Therefore, for sale without requiring a prescription. And with this there was a significant increase in demand among teenagers and young people in Valencian pharmacies. So much so that it was more than doubtful.
Phrases such as “My neck hurts a lot” or “I got hurt playing football” began to emerge as verbal traps that some people used to obtain chlorethyl for recreational purposes. “They are kids between 16 and 20 years old,” estimates the counselor who has already learned to smell their lies.
In its Circular 30 of 2019, the College of Pharmacists made the dangers very clear: “arrhythmias, seizures, coma and even sudden death.” Despite not requiring a doctor’s prescription and being sold outside the pharmacy channel, professionals have chosen to enforce a code of ethics: not selling it to a certain profile of customers or requiring them to go to their health center to receive certain emergency treatments. To advise.
“A few months ago a young man’s aunt came to us begging us not to sell him more chlorethyl,” he says at the Trace Forks pharmacy. Roca describes, “It turns out he was prescribed it for severe neck pain, but he was actually inhaling it.”
4. Valium, Orfidal, syrups containing codeine…risk of addiction
Drugs in the benzodiazepine family, such as Valium or Orfidal, among others, have been the target of those seeking to create dangerous drugs or ‘combinations’ for non-health purposes. And some people with addiction problems even seek it without a doctor’s prescription to soothe the withdrawal syndrome, as confirmed by Valencian pharmacists.
But there is more. Professionals are finding dangerous cases of abuse of these drugs, which causes some people to become addicted to them and try to obtain them illegally, without going to a doctor. In Colomer’s memory there is the case of a woman “who started with Orfidal and eventually spread abusive consumption throughout her family.” There was no prescription but he had developed a dependency and needed the medicine.
A major fear of professionals appears here: the phenomenon of ‘open bar’ of lending or worrying people into the patient’s environment. And he cites as an example, “In some cities there is this widespread practice of placing tranquilizers on the table at family gatherings after the loss of a loved one.”
Colomer also warns of “some abuse” for non-health purposes of cough syrups that contain codeine, an alkaloid derived from opium. And also drugs from the narcotic group, which require a special prescription, such as fentanyl or morphine, which are used to relieve chronic or very intense pain.