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Vicodin's not worth beans. A Mississippi pharmacist got tired of having Lortab tablets ripped of from his pharmacy so decided to take things into his own hands.
The pain killer Lortab is identical to Vicodin -- containing hydrocodone and Tylenol components -- but with lower milligrams of the Tylenol component, to better protect the stomach.
A drug store burglar's broken into Mississippi pharmacy "Fred's Drug Store," multiple times in just months, to steal pain drugs. The pharmacist was sick of having his store's pain medications ripped off, and decided to give the thief a surprise on his next return visit -- swapping out kidney beans for tablets in the large manufacturer bottle which was labeled as Lortab.
The Lortab bottle, and its beans, were the only thing stolen from the pharmacy this go-around. And there'll be no pain relief for the thief, who police say cut himself on the way in, leaving a trail of blood from the store -- and probably a trail of tears.
Apparently the pharmacy's never heard of video cameras. That's kind of what other pharmacies use to protect their supply.
Pain medication thefts have been on the rise, with pharmacy thefts at an all-time high. Opiates like those in the Hydrocodone family (Vicodin, Vicoprofen, Lortab and Norco), those in the Oxycodone family (Oxycontin, Percocet, Percodan, Endocet and Roxicodone), the MS Contin family including Morphine, and Codeine prescription drugs have all been targeted by thieves.
For each category, the pain killers have a generic form which is inexpensive for patients who carry legitimate prescriptions -- but with the painkillers carrying a skyrocketed street value. The black market for pain medication tablets offers a huge price increase over all other medicines including muscle relaxants.
Scrips for pain meds are extremely hard to come by these days, even legitimately. In the past, doctors -- and, in particular, orthopaedics specialists --would routinely prescribe a pain killer like Vicodin or Percocet -- but lawsuits related to addictions, accidental overdoses, deaths and illnesses related to the Tylenol content, make it rare for a traditional doctor to prescribe a pain medicine. For any longer term prescriptions, doctors and surgeons now routinely farm patients out to specific pain management specialists.
With supply and demand, it's driven up prices for the black market. Ironically the country now has a problem with what has been dubbed "Hillbilly Heroin," slang for Oxycontin -- and "Hillbilly Heroin" is an odd label since the drug isn't cheap. Abuse of the pain killer has become an increasing problem among young, white males. Unlike Oxycontin's family equivalents that include the brand names Percocet and Endocet, Oxycontin does not contain Tylenol. The lack of Tylenol as a component in Oxycontin makes it easier for the body to process the drug, and far less dangerous to the liver and human life.
In the Hydrocodone family of pain medications, there is none that includes no Tylenol in its composition -- though that may change. In fact, in the FDA's consideration to ban drugs containing Tylenol -- including Vicodin, Lortab and Norco -- the drug manufacturer may be forced to bring the pain medication back on the market, sans the Tylenol. There have been numerous deaths related to liver failure and Tylenol content of pain killers. Though Tylenol does provide some pain relief, the real reason that manufacturers include the component is supposedly to ensure lack of prescription abuse.
What has instead proved true is that people abuse Vicodin, Lortab and Norco no less -- but simultaneously poison themselves with the Tylenol contained in the pain killers. The result has been fatalities related to prescription abuse -- with deaths far less likely to occur with a Tylenol component removed. In the meantime, no hydrocodone pain medicine is without Tylenol: Vicodin and Vicodin ES both contain high levels of Tylenol content, Lortab has lower Tylenol levels than Vicodin, and Norco contains the least Tylenol in the hydrocodone family.
While hydrocodone is the addictive part of medications like Vicodin, Lortab and Norco, Tylenol is considered the dangerous part. Hydrocodone used in accordance to prescription instructions won't cause death -- but consistent use of the medicine and its Tylenol content can permanently damage the liver, be life-threatening, or be fatal. Pain management proponents claim the mortar-and-pestle method is best -- crushing the Vicodin or hydrocodone tablets, diluting with water before straining, and essentially removing the Tylenol particulates. Straining out the Tylenol from hydrocodone is thought to reduce dangers.
With pain killers in such demand, thieves have been using stranger or more "creative" ways to break into pharmacies and druggists -- even driving vehicles straight through plate glass windows, to perform "smash and grab" robberies.