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Syringes without prescription

Discussion in 'Pharmacy' started by FarMD2012, 08.05.12.

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Do you think pharmacies should sell syringe/needles without a prescription?

  1. Yes! It can help prevent drug abusers from sharing needles and prevent disease transmission.

    78 vote(s)
    60.5%
  2. I don't care, the law permits it.

    31 vote(s)
    24.0%
  3. No! It promotes drug abuse.

    13 vote(s)
    10.1%
  4. None of the above. I'll post my opinion below.

    7 vote(s)
    5.4%
  1. FarMD2012

    FarMD2012

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    SDN Members don't see this ad. (About Ads)
    Hi, just a poll to see the opinion of the current students/practicing pharmacists. Please post any comments and concerns.
  2. amox

    amox

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    Drug abusers will get high no matter what. Just sell them the needles and get them out of the store.

    If they end up sharing needles and passing disease, then the healthcare cost gets passed to all Americans.

    By denying you only put yourself at risk by causing a scene, and they will get high and may come mess with you.

    Your not a police officer, your life isn't worth dealing with it, sell it and move on.
  3. hereticmnk

    hereticmnk

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    Wow so far surprised at the poll results.. 5 votes including my own and all 5 vote for the 1st option
  4. FarMD2012

    FarMD2012

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    Definitely agree. But I know people who think otherwise. Interesting they are older and more traditional. I wonder if age (assuming more traditional) has any correlation to the answer to this poll.

    Anybody know any studies/statistics as to the cost benefit analysis of programs like ESAP that provides needles without prescriptions?


    Actually I thought most people would pick the 1st option.
    Last edited: 08.05.12
  5. Yazdi990

    Yazdi990

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    My pharmacy always requires an insulin prescription to allow a pt to buy syringes without a prescription.

    it was a new rule implemented by the pharmacist i'm working with now when she started. she said that before she started enforcing this, the store was almost always out of syringes no matter how much they ordered.

    i guess it's relevant to add that i work in one of the worst parts of town.
  6. FarMD2012

    FarMD2012

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    Rule set by your pharmacist? In some states there are laws that permit the selling of syringes. In NY, there is the ESAP program which allows pharmacies that are registered to sell up to 10 without a prescription. In CA, you can sell up to 30 without a prescription, no questions asked.
  7. UES Girl

    UES Girl

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    and do you think it's a good thing that now this obviously unmet demand instead of having access to sterile syringes is now getting them somewhere else of questionable origin? It's not like those who want to go for heroin are suddenly going to stop because the pharmacist set a rule they can't buy syringes. :laugh:
  8. All4MyDaughter

    All4MyDaughter SDN Mommystrator Staff Member Administrator SDN Senior Moderator Lifetime Donor Partner Organization

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    Gotta love pharmacists who make up their own rules and laws! :rolleyes:
  9. rxlea

    rxlea Unicorn in training Moderator Emeritus

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    Giving patients clean needles to shoot heroin > Spreading HIV et al.
  10. eagles22

    eagles22

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    Sometimes its not worth the public health aspect if you cater to these people. I don't want to find used syringes in a store's parking lot or bathroom. That's a risk to me and my customers who don't abuse drugs. I'd suspect some pharmacists would agree.
  11. confettiflyer

    confettiflyer Unicorn w/ dirty wings

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    doesn't give you or any other pharmacist the right to act as legislature, judge, and jury and make up your own sh*t because it's convenient for you.
  12. All4MyDaughter

    All4MyDaughter SDN Mommystrator Staff Member Administrator SDN Senior Moderator Lifetime Donor Partner Organization

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    I have never denied anyone syringes, yet somehow that mob of heroin addicts shooting up all over the store never materializes. If you are so worried about it, put a sharps container in the bathroom. Will help the patients with diabetes as well.
  13. UES Girl

    UES Girl

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    I'm on rotation right now in the HIV clinic, so syringes are a big deal, sort of. :(
  14. joetrisman

    joetrisman

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    :thumbup:
  15. Wheresmyaricept

    Wheresmyaricept

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    Why are you guys making the pharmacist that doesn't give syringes to a drug addict a bad guy? I understand that we have to pay for it when they get HIV or some other lovely illness. Usually we are already paying for their healthcare. But why are you enabling them? You're doing nothing but helping worsen their drug addiction.

    And you know what? Yeah, they might get clean needles now, but they're probably going to share at some point and get sick anyway because drug users are desperate and will do whatever it takes to get high. It's inevitable.

    I've never once had an altercation when refusing to sell someone needles. I always say they need to produce a prescription or show me a bottle of insulin with a prescription label on it and their ID to prove its theirs. When they can't do this they always say "come on man, I'm sick and need my medicine" like any diabetic would say those exact words. You would get the rampage of "MY BLOOD SUGAR IS XYZ AND I NEED MAH INSULIN".

    This thread surprised me because every single pharmacist I've ever worked with follows the same philosophy I posted...
  16. joetrisman

    joetrisman

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    Take a societal cost perspective on a person contracting a bloodborne pathogen and your ethical stance on not dispensing becomes quite unethical.
  17. All4MyDaughter

    All4MyDaughter SDN Mommystrator Staff Member Administrator SDN Senior Moderator Lifetime Donor Partner Organization

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    I'll give you the benefit of the doubt since you are pre-pharmacy and may not know that:

    1. There are medical uses for syringes other than insulin. I used one last night that I bought OTC.
    2. Some insulins are OTC, so just because they can't show you a prescription or a bottle with a label, it doesn't mean they aren't on insulin and don't have it at home.
    3. The fact that they MIGHT share needles at some point in the future doesn't mean it's pointless to sell them clean needles now. Every instance of NOT sharing needles cuts down the risk of disease transmission. You should look up some information on public health and risk reduction. While you are at it, check out the lifetime costs of care for someone with HIV and/or HepC.

    You should look for other pharmacist role models. The ones you work with see to be more interested in moralizing, judging, and making up rules than they are taking care of patients.
  18. joetrisman

    joetrisman

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    Speaking of you, how's your business? still working at the independent as well?
  19. All4MyDaughter

    All4MyDaughter SDN Mommystrator Staff Member Administrator SDN Senior Moderator Lifetime Donor Partner Organization

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    Business is great! I have a ton of patients now, and I'm picking up 3-4 shifts per month at the independent. The owner asked me to cover all his shifts plus a few of the PIC's in October (about 90 hours) so that will be a nice chunk of change before I have the baby. Plus, I just got another contract job (it's also a work-from-home deal) that is worth 25K. Since we were already used to living just on my husband's salary + my residency salary, that's all I have been paying myself from the business proceeds and we're banking the rest to use for paying off loans and whatever else. The only extravagance we've allowed ourselves so far is a pre-owned Honda Odyssey. We could have paid cash for it, but the interest rate is lower than my student loan payment. :rolleyes:

    My son and I were sick most of July (we got effing pertussis!!!), so it's been super nice to not have to go to work somewhere every day.
  20. Pharmavixen

    Pharmavixen foxy pharmacist

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    After I graduated in 1986, I completed a specialized residency in the treatment of drug and alcohol abuse and then went to work in retail. At that time, pharmacies did not sell syringes for non-medical reasons. Also at that time, AIDS was killing scores of people. We watched young people die horribly and there were no treatments other than palliative. So I was one of the pharmacists selling syringes to addicts behind my boss' back. I was not breaking the law, as syringes were never prescription here (Ontario), but it was a violation of traditional policy at all drug stores.

    Making clean needles available cuts down on the transmission of blood-borne diseases. End of story.

    Oh, and making clean needles available does not enable heroin addiction. If that were true, then more diabetics would be heroin addicts, no?
  21. Old Timer

    Old Timer SDN Advisor SDN Advisor

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    I chose the last option. I really wanted to choose option one, but it didn't include the entertainment factor when these junkies come in to ask for their syringes. There must be some correlation between diabetes and heroin addition in the grandchildren of diabetics. They never say it's for them. It's always for Grandmom......

    Not one person walks in and says "Hey, can I have a syringe, I just got a speedball and I'm dying to get high......

    As to the nitwits and morons who decide to judge others, you guys are the true losers. It's not your job to decide if this is appropriate. The laws of your State and the polices of your employer are what is important. The attitude below is my single biggest complaint about pharmacists:

    It doesn't make you a bad guy, it makes you an *******. There is nothing you can do as pharmacist about a heroin addict. They will burglarize a diabetics house or rob you at gun point. When you are addicted to heroin, you will do anything to get it, Denying them a clean needle has NO upside and a large downside. You just cost the health care system an additional 25K per year for each new HIV patient you create by denying them a clean needle.


    That means we should deny people Lipitor because they are going to eat at McDonalds. It's inevitable. Really, you can do better than that canard,

    Look, if you want to have a discussion about drug addiction or addiction in general, start a thread and we can have a philosophic discussion. Of course they aren't going to get the terminology correct, they are heroin addicts not diabetics.

    Birds of a feather... I always say.....
  22. spacecowgirl

    spacecowgirl brr

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    this
  23. pharaday

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    Because it is inappropriate for individual pharmacists to be establishing their own rules and regulations. There are laws in place that are to be followed for the sake of order and consistency. What if we all start making up our own rules for everything that we don't personally agree with? That just isn't how it works.
  24. hereticmnk

    hereticmnk

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    :eek::laugh:
    Based on your username and your previous avatar which I guess was your daughter.. I am guessing you made that username before you had your son but it's still funny :laugh:
  25. rxlea

    rxlea Unicorn in training Moderator Emeritus

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    well the patient isn't lying to you when he/she says they will get sick if they don't get their "medicine".

    You're going to need to rid yourself of that self righteous attitude when you get into pharmacy school and go on rotations. You're going to see things that challenge your beliefs. I recommend going in with an open mind. Compassion, empathy, and what's best for the patient are more important than your personal morals that have no legal or evidence based foundation.

    And yes, learn a bit about cost and risk reduction. Maybe you'll learn a bit about it in pharmacy school.
  26. Digsbe

    Digsbe

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    I'm obviously not a pharmacist yet and I don't start pharmacy school for another week, but I have worked in retail cumulatively for about a year and a half. The first pharmacy I worked for would not sell syringes to people that were not our filling patients on an injection medication (I disagreed with this policy).

    My view is that we should sell syringes to all patients. They are an OTC item and however they want to use them is none of our business. They may use the needles to shoot up drugs, they may also use them for perfectly valid medical reasons. Not selling syringes based on the assumption that someone may use them for drugs unfairly pushes judgement upon a patient. Would you not sell certain cough syrups to patients because they may potentially be abused?

    Now, if someone cam up to the counter and I was the pharmacist and specifically said that they need needles to use illegal drugs I obviously wouldn't sell it to them. But in all other instances I'm ok with selling needles to patients.
  27. All4MyDaughter

    All4MyDaughter SDN Mommystrator Staff Member Administrator SDN Senior Moderator Lifetime Donor Partner Organization

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    Yeah, I've been a member of the site since 2005, and my son wasn't born until last year. 2nd son due later this year.
  28. Sparda29

    Sparda29 En Taro Adun Gold Donor

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    I don't agree with a maximum of 10 syringes/sale. Let me sell them the whole box if they want it. More $$$ for me.
  29. pezdispenser

    pezdispenser

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    This has been discussed before: http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?t=432896 so feel free to take a trip back in time and read the revered opinions of sdn1977, et al. :)

    I put #2 because I think it's best to be as nonjudgemental as possible as a pharmacist. #1 is biased in favor or injectable drug users so instead you will just anger people with opposite views.

    Oh and I am in Palm Beach County which is just north of Broward and Miami-Dade Counties where you do need a prescription to buy syringes, so they just drive up here...
  30. UES Girl

    UES Girl

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    :laugh:

    You are also an expert in linguistics now in addition to being a pre-pharm ? :rofl:

    I"m not making you out to be a bad guy - I'm saying a person under the circumstances you described is a bad guy and that's MHO, my personal philosophy you have a responsibility to people there and it's not just paying your taxes, it has something to do with the oath you took as a pharmacist.

    Let me ask you this question - you never had a lapse of judgement, ever had one night stand ? What if you got infected by carelessly hooking up with someone because of one mistake and now have aquired an HIV from a person who is a drug user or just used drugs intermittenly recreationally? Do you know how many stories like that I witness at the clinic I work in ? Had a fun night out and now has an HIV and yes, these people are responsible for their own actions, but by not giving out needlees you aren't exactly helping a situation. :rolleyes:
  31. xiphoid2010

    xiphoid2010

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    I agree with dispensing. Personal beliefs is irrelevant when the law says they have the right to buy, the same goes for plan B. You do have the right to quit if don't want to do the job.
  32. confettiflyer

    confettiflyer Unicorn w/ dirty wings

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    Because in many places, such needle exchanges are legal, and as much as I loathe drug abusers, I loathe self-righteous pharmacists who contravene legally established statutes because they think they know better.

    If you want to make up your own rules, go find your own fiefdom to rule.
  33. All4MyDaughter

    All4MyDaughter SDN Mommystrator Staff Member Administrator SDN Senior Moderator Lifetime Donor Partner Organization

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    ME TOO!! :mad:

    Twice recently I have run into such pharmacists. Both times, when they've told me something was "illegal" I've said, "Really?" and pulled out my pocket RPH license. Boom.
  34. spacecowgirl

    spacecowgirl brr

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    I don't think I knew you were having another boy! Congrats and oh my! :scared::laugh:
  35. Corpseman

    Corpseman

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    I believe drug users should just reuse needles and stop wasting brand new ones.


    /sarcasm
  36. Rph2015

    Rph2015

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    When someone comes in to buy syringes its the funniest thing, especially when theres a line of people behind them. Just call them out on it. I just love asking them if they need any insulin and they say, no thats ok. And everyone behind them in line is like omg they can do that.
  37. All4MyDaughter

    All4MyDaughter SDN Mommystrator Staff Member Administrator SDN Senior Moderator Lifetime Donor Partner Organization

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    I don't let my techs and interns "call out" patients, nor make fun of them in front of other patients.

    Also, there are MANY other legit medical uses for syringes besides insulin.
  38. UES Girl

    UES Girl

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    Maybe they have testicular atrophy and are doing testosterone injections and don't feel like announcing it to the world whatever embarassing private health issue they may have ? But good job on exposing them. :laugh:
  39. Rph2015

    Rph2015

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    Don't take it the wrong way, not really 'call out' but make them aware, but actually one guy comes thru the drivethru for syringes for steroids (which i guess is illegal) but not as bad as other drugs.
  40. All4MyDaughter

    All4MyDaughter SDN Mommystrator Staff Member Administrator SDN Senior Moderator Lifetime Donor Partner Organization

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    Make them aware of what?
  41. PharmDstudent

    PharmDstudent

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    I don't sell syringes without a legitimate medical purpose. Since that's what my pharmacy manager wants, that's what I do.

    I have offered to do just about anything to verify the medical purpose, even calling a vet in the middle of the night to make sure that the customer really needed syringes to give their pitbull B12 shots that was competing in a dog show at 8am that morning. :laugh:
  42. Ackj

    Ackj

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    Opiate withdrawal prophylaxis isn't a legitimate medical purpose?

    I can see both sides of the issue. Sure you're giving them clean needles and they're less likely to get some sort of blood borne pathogen. On the other side, who's to say the syringes you sell to a guy aren't about to be shared by him and his buddy? Granted it's better to at least give him a few clean ones so its less likely, but those few bucks he spends on needles could go towards another hit, so maybe that pack of syringes lasts a little longer than it should. Then there is the issue of people using the needles on the premises, potentially exposing the staff and other patients. That's no good for any party, and gives your pharmacy a bad stigma. Who wants to go to the pharmacy where there are junkies hanging out and needles lying around? Obviously public health trumps a customer's opinion of your store, but it's unfair to the non-abusers to be subjected to that environment. The stores I have been at have thankfully been in non-slum areas, but the few narcotic addicts we do have disturb the other patients and make them feel unsafe. That said, I have never had to sell syringes to a patient that I definitively knew was going to abuse drugs with them. Many paper-thin stories, but they were at least plausible. Diabetics, b12 deficient, etc should still be able to access their syringes, so the rule is beneficial to those patients. I know with ESAP we have to give the handout about getting help for dealing with addiction, but I feel that if the syringes were given out at an actual rehab center or something, it would have a bigger impact. The heart of the problem isn't the needles, it's the drug use, so denying the sale doesn't get to the core of the issue.
  43. Sparda29

    Sparda29 En Taro Adun Gold Donor

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    WTF?

    Smh.

    It ****ing pisses me off how many pharmacists try to act like the narc police or something.
  44. Yazdi990

    Yazdi990

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    she's legally allowed to dispense them based off of state rules, but is choosing not to. while i haven't been in the store long enough to verify, she says it has really cleaned the store up. apparently, there were a lot of shady people coming through all the time and it was scaring off other patients.

    there's a cvs across the street so we don't really even get asked for syringes any more. most people know to go to cvs. although there is always that one guy that needs it for his cat.
  45. pharaday

    pharaday

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    You sound very immature. Purchasing syringes is legal. They don't have to explain what they're using them for to you or anyone else.
  46. NaOH

    NaOH WTF am I reading

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    My employer's 'official' position is that we won't sell without either a script, a record of injectible medication on file, or an appropriately labeled bottle of medication from another pharmacy.


    Personally, I don't really give a rat's ass who I'm selling syringes to. Legit people will use them for legit purposes, and people using them to get high will continue down their path of slow, drawn-out suicide. I get sick of hassling the honest folks just to stymie the efforts of the junkies (who won't be deterred, no matter what I do).
  47. rxlea

    rxlea Unicorn in training Moderator Emeritus

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    Like.
  48. PharmDstudent

    PharmDstudent

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    You mean, feeding an addiction?
    this

    It's pie in the sky to think that clean needles won't get shared at some point.

    I almost stepped on a used needle in the parking lot at a sushi place recently, and it worries me to go back to the restaurant even though I love that place.

    It's important to deny a sale in order to acknowledge the problem. I believe that's the difference between a pharmacy and a bar, ie ethical responsibility.
    For example, I had one customer come back and apologize about the way he acted whenever he was on meth, and looking back, I'm happy that I was hard on him. I would refuse to sell PSE to him or his friends, and now, I don't have to worry that I was feeding his addiction, and he can feel comfortable talking to me about it, because he knows that I won't give in and tempt him.

    My manager has a good reason to act like that, and if the pharmacy manager doesn't want to sell syringes without a legitimate medical purpose, then I have to do the same - to be consistent. It's hard...


    Addiction ruins peoples' lives and their families. It ruined my family.
    Last edited: 08.07.12
  49. pharaday

    pharaday

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    :rolleyes:
  50. rxlea

    rxlea Unicorn in training Moderator Emeritus

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    PSE is not a good comparison because there are laws about quantity dispensed and selling PSE doesn't have the potential to protect anyone.

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