Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The Needle and the Damage Done

Today I got my flu shot. Needles do not scare me(except perhaps jugular ones!), be it a hulking 14 gauge large-bore IV or a butterfly. I've had too many, and the repeated exposure to the entire gamut makes one hard, calloused, like a soldier going into battle. You come to expect just how much it will hurt.

Later on, as I stood in line at the pharmacy, requesting my 100 ct. box of 3/10, 29 gauge syringes, I was struck at how easy it was for anyone to get ahold of them.

"And what will you be using these for?" the cashier inquired.

I'm tempted to say "Drugs", but I'm not that stupid.(Regardless of the fact that yes,
they'll be used for a legal drug) I can just envision her shocked look + hasty speed dial to the local drug-busting unit.

"Insulin," I say, like every other Joe Blow that walks in there. I will use them to shoot down highs, rather then spend hours in ketosis waiting on the infusion set.(which has likely gone to pot)

"Sign the book,please."

Name, age, address, medication. It will be tracked, monitered for signs of suspicious activity.(excessive buying) But if someone wanted to buy alot of syringes,all they'd have to do is drugstore hop. Making them all prescription, is that the answer? It just makes it harder for people who can't afford a doc/don't have insurance(syringes + some insulins are over the counter), which is a horrid situation but one that many people are in. It also makes it inconvenient for people like me, who buy syringes OTC because it is cheaper then the copay for the things. Drug abusers abound, alas, + I've heard heroin + insulin sometimes ends up in the same syringe(that's partially why you can't even give your own injections in jail).

Sometimes the needle does as much harm as good.


Amylia said...

hmmm...I never used to have to "log" my info in a book at Walgreens, but now I do.

And I didn't know that you can't give yourself insulin shots in jail. How DO you know that? :)

I had to go without insurance for a bit and bought OTC (insulin, shots, strips). Sure adds up quickly!

Scott said...

I think the rules vary by state. I've lived in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, Delaware, Pennsylvania, and California, and some allowed OTC sales, others didn't. Some place limits on the quantity, others don't specify one. Also, individual retailers may have their own store policies on it. Among those states that do allow it, some require a log book signing, others didn't even question it. Apparently, no script is needed in something like 38 or 39 U.S. States. Massachusetts legalized OTC purchases of syringes only last year (I have chronicled some of the news coverage of that on my blog).

Personally, I feel OTC sales is far better than to have AIDS proliferate among illegal drug users. Unfortunately, so few heroin addicts even bother that most OTC buyers are actually people with legitimate needs who either don't have a script (they ran out of needles and won't see their doc for a few weeks) or like you, find it less costly.

type1emt said...

Amylia- I think I read about it in a Diabetes Forecast article.(eons ago)