But these drugs are, in fact, abused and diverted in jails and prisons.The reasons for this are somewhat complex, but in my mind, it boils down to this: These are drugs that have psychoactive effects that mimic, to some degree, the effects of the drugs on the DEA Schedules.
These allergy drugs include antihistamines, decongestants, combination drugs, corticosteroids, and others.
Immunotherapy in the form of allergy shots or pills under the tongue, which gradually increase your ability to tolerate allergens, are also available.
Gabapentin is the single biggest problem drug of abuse in many correctional systems.
In general, there is no cure for allergies, but there are several types of medications available -- both over-the-counter and prescription -- to help ease and treat annoying symptoms like congestion and runny nose.
In the correctional setting, the following drugs are sought after as substitute sleeping aids. It has especially high black market value in correctional settings. Seroquel used solely as a sleeping agent can often be recognized by small doses (50-100mg) prescribed only at night. Many other cyclic antidepressants have less abuse potential. Clonidine is an essential drug for opioid withdrawal. Besides the stimulant effect, albuterol may also be used inappropriately as an “exercise enhancer.” Pseudoephedrine. Pseudoephedrine and the other decongestants are all poor cold medications.
Trazodone is a poor antidepressant and can easily be replaced with other, better antidepressants that have much less abuse potential. Many better medications for nasal complaints are available and so decongestants rarely need be prescribed. These drugs are used to get a euphoric “high.” Gabapentin (Neurontin). Gabapentin is commonly prescribed off label for neuropathic pain and other chronic pain syndromes. Effexor is an antidepressant with many substitutes such as Cymbalta and the SSRIs.
If you are addicted, or even if you just like to get high once in a while, and you can’t obtain your preferred drugs of abuse because you are incarcerated, these are the drugs that can serve as an alternative in a pinch.
It is critically important for medical professionals in corrections to know which seemingly benign drugs have the potential to be abused and diverted.
Of all of these differences, one that stands out in importance is the fact that many seemingly benign medications are abused in correctional settings.
Of course, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has established a list of drugs known to have potential for abuse and even addiction.
Like all correctional physicians, I myself have wrestled with the problems these drugs cause.