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Old 18-03-2010, 22:00   #1
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S8 Class Drugs

Thse might be called something different in other countries but they typically are morphine and the like.

I take a daily schedule of painkillers to function normally after something which happened in my career as a soldier. The drugs I take are usually only available monthly to prevent abuse and are the sorts of drugs that Dr's are wary of giving to new patients.

When I have them with me then pain doesn't stop me from functioning normally and I have no problems sailing.

I get them for free through Veteran's Affairs here in Australia but I understand seeing a Dr and buying drugs in the US can be very expensive so ideally I'd like to carry a year or two's supply whilst I cruise the world.

I also hear that since the recent world events US officials can be less than helpful to visitors coming in and I worry that this may cause an issue for a fellow in my situation.

Has anyone any experience in getting around this sort of caper?

Simon
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Old 18-03-2010, 22:05   #2
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Arrange for your prescription to be mailed to you. Either to a contact in Aussieland, and then have them forward it to you at what ever marina you expect to be at, or have it mailed to a drop box in whatever country you will be in, that you can have forward it to you at your short term stay overs. Tricky, but I bet it can be done.
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Old 18-03-2010, 22:08   #3
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Arrange for your prescription to be mailed to you. Either to a contact in Aussieland, and then have them forward it to you at what ever marina you expect to be at, or have it mailed to a drop box in whatever country you will be in, that you can have forward it to you at your short term stay overs. Tricky, but I bet it can be done.
Thank you for your suggestion. I am not even sure my Doctor is allowed to prescribe these without an examination - I currently see him monthly for this.

Would an Australian prescription be filled at a US Pharmacy? Esp if it is for high risk drugs like opiates etc? These sorts of pills can be sold on the street for a remarkable amount of money.
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Old 19-03-2010, 00:20   #4
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Morphine is classified here in the US as a schedule 2 drug.
You would not be able to buy this or import it without a perscription.
I do not think you would be able to obtain a year supply from a MD anywhere for this, even with a rx.
I am unsure but doubt that it can be mailed with out some hassle.
There are other meds that you might be able to use though. Lyrica is one that comes to mind. While still a controlled substance, it is not in the same league as far as abuse is concerned.
I would recomend you speak to your physician and let him/her know what you are thinking and ask for their recomendations.
Also, there are some countries where you can obtain this stuff, but then getting it into the US is another matter. A US pharmacy most likely would not honor a Aus RX for something like this, with out a lot of hassle on your part. And even then maybe not. Canada may.
Mexico would be my guess as a place to get it. But then you would have to bring it in to the US, again may present some problems.
Good luck.
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Old 19-03-2010, 01:48   #5
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I am sure I will figure out a way.

Nothing stops me anymore.
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Old 19-03-2010, 04:08   #6
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Kordie, a note of caution. If you arrive at most so called 'first world' countries with a years supply of an opiate, at best it's likely that the medicine will be seized and destroyed. At worst, you could face a trafficking charge. If you arrive at countries like Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand etc. with a large amount of opiates, it's possible, even probable that officials will not accept medical need as an excuse and the death penalty is a possibility for trafficking there. Hiding them and having them discovered just doesn't bare thinking about.
There are a number of very effective alternatives to opiates and you may want to consider slowly weaning yourself off your present medication and substituting something like Tramadol, which although it shares some opiate like properties, is not generally seen as a trafficking drug.
On the other hand, you could spend a hundred years cruising around the coast of Australia and never see it all. I'm told that's one reason why some Aussies don't feel the need to go off world cruising.

P.
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Old 19-03-2010, 04:16   #7
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Originally Posted by fishwife View Post
Kordie, a note of caution. If you arrive at most so called 'first world' countries with a years supply of an opiate, at best it's likely that the medicine will be seized and destroyed. At worst, you could face a trafficking charge. If you arrive at countries like Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand etc. with a large amount of opiates, it's possible, even probable that officials will not accept medical need as an excuse and the death penalty is a possibility for trafficking there. Hiding them and having them discovered just doesn't bare thinking about.
There are a number of very effective alternatives to opiates and you may want to consider slowly weaning yourself off your present medication and substituting something like Tramadol, which although it shares some opiate like properties, is not generally seen as a trafficking drug.

P.
I went to China last year and just breezed through with boxes of tablets for a month. They didn't even want to see them. They only worried about chinese nationals returning home - all westerners were waved through.

I lived in Malaysia for three years and am well aware of the penalties and also how every taxi driver offers a Farang drugs and girls. The death penalty doesn't seem to faze anyone!

Except me. I am very careful.
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Old 19-03-2010, 07:10   #8
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I have a similar problem as I use narcotics to help with extreme pain. I couldn't get through the day without them.
My Doctor is suppling me with a notarized letter and medical records, to hopefully make it easier to obtain my meds while cruising. Hoping this will work.
He has also increased my meds to twice as many as usual per month so I will have a little extra for the 1st few months.
I will be back in the Caribbean and think this will work out fine.
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Old 24-04-2010, 21:49   #9
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I am in the same situation as you, other than the fact that I got injured as a police officer. I havent read the other replies but I am sure they will be similar to mine as I live in the US. All my meds are free too, as workers compensation takes care of that. But I have checked, and the drugs I think you are referring to are Class II narcotics. That covers all the morphine derivatives I take. I have to see my doc once a month, and good luck getting them written. Filling them is also difficult unless you can set up something with the Vet's benefits there. I don't know. But the prices are crazy. I take Opana, which is under patent, so no generics, and the prices for example 120 10mg Opana is like 800 dollars US. It is my neck that is messed up, and with them I can sail as well. Otherwise I lay in bed not moving. Good luck, it would be easier if you wanted schedule 3, which can be called in. But if you are like me, they are not an option. Additionally, and most people don't know this, schedule 3 narcotics have high doses of Tylenol, or acetaminophen, which you probably know is worse on your liver than the pain medication. I could write a book on the idiocy of our drug laws, and our situation is just one example.
Cheer, Steve
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Old 24-04-2010, 22:01   #10
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I've heard that if your boat is a documented vessel the ship (your boat) may maintain a pharmacy and the drugs may be dispensed as needed. The drugs are the boat's drugs, they're not yours until the officer in charge dispenses them. Everything must be thoroughly logged or you'll be in big trouble.
I have not yet seen this in writing bu it bears looking into.
I know for a fact that it is legal to buy up to 3 month's supply of opiates in Mexico and that you can cross the border legally as long as you have a US prescription and a Mexico prescription.
I have driven across the border many many times with prescriptions, (non opiates) many month's worth. I always declare them to the US customs agent. I say, yes I have 3 grocery bags full of prescriptions to declare. They say really? I say yes, 3 bags. They've never even asked to look in the bags.
An Advair inhaler in California is about $300.00. In Mexico I could buy 3 for $100.00 if I bought 6 of them. EXACT SAME MANUFACTURER, EXACT SAME PACKAGE.
You can draw your own conclusions.
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Old 25-04-2010, 03:02   #11
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Speak to someone in the Aussie Maritime administration.
I'm a skipper on an ocean tugboat, and we carry a comprehensive pharmacy.
You may be required to undertake a 5 day "Ships Captains Medical" couse to indicate that you are considered competent to administer drugs.
Most countires require that narcotics are kept in a safe box under lock and key.
I would imagine that ocean race boats wouod be required to carry an extensive medical kit, dont see why it could not be the case for a cruising boat. Just avoid West Africa!!
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Old 28-04-2010, 07:32   #12
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I would suggest being hyper careful with officials especially if visiting the USA. You might get one opinion from the USCG (Homeland Security) and a totally different attitude from some "local" police, local maritime police, etc. Generally all officials are hyper about any form of "controlled substances" on board vessels. Rules that apply to freighters and large ships do not necessary apply to small boats and sailboats. The general pattern is to confiscate and jail the person first and then you have to "prove" your innocence at great expense of money and time. The educational level of their knowledge of complicated subjects like "controlled substances" generally does not go much beyond "your guilty of drug trafficking" and we can get some good publicity out of this bust especially if you are not in a financial position to fight back.
- - Additionally, some forms of "controlled substances" are just flat out illegal inside the USA even though they are "approved" in other countries. It has to do with FDA approvals and other political considerations.
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Old 29-04-2010, 13:47   #13
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That is a big generalization although not worth the chance of getting a hyper enforcement type. There are exceptions, and I was one. I tried to educate fellow police people I worked with but it is the luck of the draw for sure
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Old 29-04-2010, 17:13   #14
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For sure there are more intelligent, reasonable and competent members of the various levels of the "enforcement" community - but - as in all occupations and populations - there is the 10% who wreck havoc on all the good work done by the other 90%. Problem is, you do not get to pick, chose or interview which official you will be confronted with so considerable discretion is the better part of valor.
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Old 29-04-2010, 18:14   #15
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Please keep this discussion going for awhile. We are in a similiar situation. My wife was injured after improper physical therapy for a knee replacement, causing an almost complete amputaion, and is under the care of a Pain Managment Physician. We previously spent almost 10 years on are boat, splitting the time between Caribbean cruising, and returning to the States to work. We did return with the boat because of the impending surgery. After several years, we are going to take off again in the fall. We have decided to make the Bahamas our destination, to see if wifey is able to stand the rigors of cruising. The prescription issue is a big problem, as the insurance company will only allow a month's worth at a time. If we can't work anything out to have a larger amount dispensed, we will have to go back and forth to the States, probably by plane. We have been very upfront with our local Pharmacy, so they would more than likely assist with the prescription being shipped if we couldn't make other arraingments. The most current problem though, was she fell in the boat yard a couple of weeks ago and broke an arm. The Dr's (not pain Dr) just said double up the dosage of pain meds. That is a problem not thought about until another injury occurs, that you may need even more. We are doing our best to not let this hole us back, but as others have stated, without the meds, can't walk.
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