Painkillers

Old Jun 14th 2019, 5:32 pm
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Default Painkillers

Hi all

Have an unusual question and wonder if anyone can help.

I am a UK citizen, based in the UK, and have a long term chronic pain condition for which I was prescribed tramadol in tablet form in the past by my GP. However the new GP is no longer as amenable, but nothing else is as effective.

Last week, I went to Spain where tramadol is not illegal without prescription - at least, some pharmacists will supply small quantities of it without one - and I went to a number of them, meaning that I ended up with some hundreds of tablets in my luggage. It's so much cheaper there and all I wanted was to bring a few months supply back with me for my own use.

However, on returning to the UK, it got confiscated from me by UK Border Force officials at the airport - first time I've ever been stopped!

I want to ask for it back from them and just wondered if anyone on this forum had had any experience of a situation like this?

Thanks in advance

D
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Old Jun 14th 2019, 5:47 pm
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Default Re: Painkillers

Wow. I was prescribed Tramadol in Italy for broken ribs - bloody painful as hell. I doubt that you could make any successful claim to get back a non- prescribed and confiscated drug though.



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Old Jun 14th 2019, 6:06 pm
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Default Re: Painkillers

Originally Posted by Phoenix1969 View Post
Hi all

Have an unusual question and wonder if anyone can help.

I am a UK citizen, based in the UK, and have a long term chronic pain condition for which I was prescribed tramadol in tablet form in the past by my GP. However the new GP is no longer as amenable, but nothing else is as effective.

Last week, I went to Spain where tramadol is not illegal without prescription - at least, some pharmacists will supply small quantities of it without one - and I went to a number of them, meaning that I ended up with some hundreds of tablets in my luggage. It's so much cheaper there and all I wanted was to bring a few months supply back with me for my own use.

However, on returning to the UK, it got confiscated from me by UK Border Force officials at the airport - first time I've ever been stopped!

I want to ask for it back from them and just wondered if anyone on this forum had had any experience of a situation like this? .....
You mean "caught by UK customs smuggling drugs?

As Tramadol is an opiate pain medication, in my opinion you were damn lucky not to be arrested and prosecuted, and the chances of you getting the tablets back is, at best, zero.

Oh, and you should expect to be stopped again every time you enter the UK for at least the next couple of years, and frequently thereafter.

Last edited by Pulaski; Jun 14th 2019 at 6:12 pm.
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Old Jun 14th 2019, 6:37 pm
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Default Re: Painkillers

Both

Oh no, they were only for me. I wasn't smuggling them in that sense.

I did actually speak to a solicitor about it, and the advice was i had the right to ask for them back if they were for my own use, and that doing this would be much more likely to succeed if I could get a prescription. It can be private and can be from anywhere, not just the UK.

So the question becomes - how to get one of these?
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Old Jun 14th 2019, 6:57 pm
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Default Re: Painkillers

Originally Posted by Phoenix1969 View Post
Both

Oh no, they were only for me. I wasn't smuggling them in that sense.

I did actually speak to a solicitor about it, and the advice was i had the right to ask for them back if they were for my own use, and that doing this would be much more likely to succeed if I could get a prescription. It can be private and can be from anywhere, not just the UK.

So the question becomes - how to get one of these?
You have had several hundred opiate tablets confiscated by UK CBP, for which you didn't have a prescription and your GP had refused a prescription, when you tried to import them into the UK without declaring them. These tablets that have a street market value for sale individually, and you acquired them by traipsing from pharmacy to pharmacy in Spain buying them a few at a time, and you want advice on how to get them back?

I think that this is waaaay beyond what should be discussed on BE, and certainly beyond what I am willing to discuss.

Last edited by Pulaski; Jun 14th 2019 at 8:11 pm.
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Old Jun 14th 2019, 7:08 pm
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Default Re: Painkillers

Fine, delete my profile - didn't realise was causing any upset.

Thx

D
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Old Jun 14th 2019, 7:12 pm
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Default Re: Painkillers

Originally Posted by Phoenix1969 View Post
Both

Oh no, they were only for me. I wasn't smuggling them in that sense.

I did actually speak to a solicitor about it, and the advice was i had the right to ask for them back if they were for my own use, and that doing this would be much more likely to succeed if I could get a prescription. It can be private and can be from anywhere, not just the UK.

So the question becomes - how to get one of these?
Try that in Dubai and you would not get out of prison for 20 years. You are being very naive and stupid. If your GP won’t give them to you you should not be taking them. They are seriously dangerous drugs and long term unsupervised use can lead to a serious addiction and an over dose could kill you.

In the UK if you are stopped by the police and have a drug test and they find Tramadol and you cannot produce a prescription you will be in serious s**t

Talk to your GP about alternatives.

Last edited by Fred James; Jun 14th 2019 at 7:17 pm.
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Old Jun 14th 2019, 7:44 pm
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Default Re: Painkillers

Perhaps the OP could speak to her/his GP about the need to find a more appropriate way of managing the chronic pain that is being experienced. There may also be some work that could be undertaken to educate as to the dangers of self prescribing and medicating. The cause of the pain may also be explored more fully.
As for challenging the border security, that would be an open invitation to a pain of a different variety.
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Old Jun 14th 2019, 8:04 pm
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Default Re: Painkillers

Originally Posted by Phoenix1969 View Post
Both

Oh no, they were only for me. I wasn't smuggling them in that sense.

I did actually speak to a solicitor about it, and the advice was i had the right to ask for them back if they were for my own use, and that doing this would be much more likely to succeed if I could get a prescription. It can be private and can be from anywhere, not just the UK.

So the question becomes - how to get one of these?
if you did not have a prescription there is no proof that they were for you, so were smuggling drugs.

Getting a prescription after the event will not help your case at all.

Just give up on this crazy idea and go and see your GP. And thank your lucky stars that you are not in big trouble.
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Old Jun 14th 2019, 8:15 pm
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Default Re: Painkillers

Originally Posted by Fred James View Post
if you did not have a prescription there is no proof that they were for you, so were smuggling drugs. ....
Reading post #1 again, it appears that Phoenix went to Spain specifically for the purpose of obtaining a quantity of opiate tablets from pharmacies there. That's definitely smuggling, and I find it remarkable that he wasn't arrested and prosecuted.
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Old Jun 14th 2019, 8:33 pm
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Default Re: Painkillers

Originally Posted by Pulaski View Post
Reading post #1 again, it appears that Phoenix went to Spain specifically for the purpose of obtaining a quantity of opiate tablets from pharmacies there. That's definitely smuggling, and I find it remarkable that he wasn't arrested and prosecuted.
I agree. He should be thanking his lucky stars and let the matter drop. No good will come of complaining that illegal drugs were confiscated due to smuggling them into the country.

Last edited by Jerseygirl; Jun 14th 2019 at 8:47 pm.
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Old Jun 14th 2019, 9:18 pm
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Default Re: Painkillers

Originally Posted by jonboy View Post
Perhaps the OP could speak to her/his GP about the need to find a more appropriate way of managing the chronic pain that is being experienced. There may also be some work that could be undertaken to educate as to the dangers of self prescribing and medicating. The cause of the pain may also be explored more fully.
.
He could & should talk to the UK GP concerned . Not everyone becomes addicted to tramadol and not everyone is seeking to abuse the pain med. I gather it was reclassified just 5 years ago so the prescription may no longer be a repeatable despite it being a very effective pain control med. That may well be why the UK GP could not prescribe further but he should have made that clear if so.

If I may also point out here, different countries have different rulings on some medications. What may be prescription only or heavily controlled in one country is not the case in another.
Tamadol is not in itself an illegal or banned drug. It is a class c controlled substance.

all I wanted was to bring a few months supply back with me for my own use.
The reason for confiscation is here. It is a UK class c controlled med & a few months is a few months too long. I think the max time this med can be prescribed in the UK may be just one month. One may not stockpile. For Spain it seems it is different.

In simple terms the med is controlled so it was bound to be confiscated at the UK border if there was no proof that it was prescribed. When one needs to travel with meds it is wise to have a GPs note to state they are prescribed. The OP doesn't mention if he declared through the red zone or not. Nor does he mention whether a fine was levied or a caution to not do this again & why. Of course this will now be logged for any further re-entries so he would be wise to carry a GP note with any prescription meds.

As the confiscation happened at the UK border I will move this to the UK forum.

To the OP:
Personally I would not waste time or effort on this. Like most confiscated goods , the item will have already been destroyed.

There is a process regarding seized items . It would mean court. LINK.

,
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Old Jun 14th 2019, 9:26 pm
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Default Re: Painkillers

Originally Posted by BEVS View Post
.... The OP doesn't mention if he declared through the red zone or not. ....
The OP says it was "the first time he had ever been stopped", which IMO implies he wasn't planning on doing so.
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Old Jun 14th 2019, 9:41 pm
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Originally Posted by Pulaski View Post
The OP says it was "the first time he had ever been stopped", which IMO implies he wasn't planning on doing so.
Well. I'm not up for assumption nor implication here.
It is not written if it was declared or not. It is simply written that the med was confiscated upon re-entry to the UK.

So. Help, advice & info for the OP and for anyone else looking in as many folk do take regular meds to control pain and for other health issues

Originally Posted by UK Govt
You need to prove your medicine is prescribed to you if:
  • it contains a ‘controlled drug’
  • you have it on you when you’re entering or leaving the UK
Originally Posted by UK Govt
Check if your medicine contains a controlled drug

Ask your doctor or pharmacist whether your medicine contains a controlled drug.

You can also check the drugs listed on the packaging of your medicine and search for them on the controlled drugs list. The list doesn’t give names of medicines, only drugs that are used in medicines.

If your medicine contains a drug listed as schedule 2, 3 or 4 on the controlled drugs list, you need to either:
  • prove it is prescribed to you
  • get a licence - if you’re travelling for at least 3 months or carrying enough to last you that long

I am now closing the thread rather than prolonging its agony.
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