French customs warned on Wednesday of an increase in attacks on pregabalin, the “poor man’s drug”, prescribed to treat epilepsy, generalized anxiety disorders and neuropathic pain, which its use is diverted for narcotic purposes.
The misuse of this drug, better known by its trade name Lyrica, has been noticed for many years in France, especially in the context of fake prescriptions or medical and pharmaceutical nomadism.
Faced with the increase in cases of abuse, dependence, misuse and fake prescriptions, the National Medicines Safety Agency (ANSM) restricts in May 2021 the conditions for prescribing pregabalin, which is currently limited to six months and is the subject of a safe and tamper. -prescription proof.
Nicknamed the “poor man’s drug” because of its low cost, it is “regularly sold by urban crime networks that are also active in the illegal sale of cigarettes and tobacco”, outlined the director general of customs in a press release.
On October 11, customs services in Metz (north-east) intercepted 5,544 capsules of medicine containing pregabalin in the personal effects of an individual. A week later, customs officials in Marseille (south-east) discovered 2,800 capsules of the drug containing pregabalin in an express cargo package intended for an individual.
“These attacks are part of the trend that has been observed since the beginning of the year, in the increasing diversion of the use of this drug in our territory,” said the customs.
The main complications associated with the misuse of pregabalin are coma, impaired consciousness, disorientation, confusion and can lead to death.
French customs seized almost 1.9 million health products in 2022 as part of the fight against drug trafficking and drug abuse.