Thai Teens on Tramadol: painkillers restricted as new abuse trend emerges among teens

The Office of the Narcotics Control Board (ONCB) announced yesterday that they will enforce more restrictions on the sale of tramadol, an opiate-containing painkiller. The reason for further restriction is that a new trend of abusing these pills is emerging among Thai teens.

Tramadol was already on the Dangerous Drugs list under the Thai Medicine Act and pharmacies already had to register buyers as well as how much of the drug they sold.

The Institute will now enforce a rule that pharmacies are restricted from selling more than 10 tramadol pills to any customer at any one time and the Pharmacy Association has been informed of this rule, reported The Nation.

An issue for many decades in Western countries, opiate painkiller abuse, specifically tramadol abuse and addiction, has been a significant issue in Thailand among teenagers for only the last few years.

Thai teens have been abusing this strong painkiller, used for chronic pain by those suffering from cancer or musculoskeletal conditions, by mixing it into sodas, coffee or even alcoholic cocktails. They have also been abusing codeine and pentazocine in similar ways.

Though tramadol is not as strong or addictive as morphine, users can still become highly addicted.

ONCB Narcotics Analysis and Technical Service Institute director Kanyanan Kongpatnitiroj noted that abuse of tramadol can lead to serious withdrawal side effects that include vomiting, limb weakness, seizure, coma and even death.

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