Narcotics for migraine confiscated by TSA

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Old Feb 8, 19, 5:30 am
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Narcotics for migraine confiscated by TSA

I take a ton of narcotic a for migraines every 4 hours to deal with my extreme case of Chronic Migraines. I just had my meds confiscated due to the massive quantity according to the TSA agent. I had to take all of the prescription since I was going to be away for a while in order to have neurological surgery to help fix my health. I was carrying approximately 260 capsules of Fioricet with Codeine. Both are narcotics but they have different mechanisms of action is all. I explained that they were not only medically necessary and obviously prescribed but that without them Iíd have to be hospitalized due to withdrawals since I suddenly stopped the medication instead of steeping down as would be the norm if Iíd come of the medication. The TSA guy didnít care and neither did his supervisor. They pitched all of it. Iím sure it didnít help that the pharmacy decided to be lazy and just put a label on the 100 capsule bottle, it was even still sealed, they receive from the manufacturer but Iím still stuck. Hopefully my doctor will understand and provide a new script but thatís yet to be known. Also, that prescription costs well over $1000 before insurance. Since Iíve already picked up my monthly supply insurance wonít cover the medication on the event I receive a new script from my doctor. Iím not sure what the next few days will hold except for the fact Iím going through hell and will continue to do so for a while. This entire situation is preposterous but I couldnít force anything with them at the time. I had to bite my tongue and Iíll just deal with it with the courts or any other authority thatíll listen. From now on I will definitely be getting a detailed note from doctor to hopefully stop thi from happening again. Wish me luck so that this hopefully gets resolved quickly and easily. God knows what my body is going to start putting me through in the next couple days....
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Old Feb 8, 19, 8:57 am
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Call the police to report it. You may need the documentation for the doctor, insurance and/or the pharmacy which has to document filling a controlled substance early for the DEA & State authorities regulating controlled substances. It's also quite possible that the police can get the medication back for you as they can verify with your doctor that the medication was legitimate and remind the TSA that they seized a controlled substance that they don't have the authority to have in their custody beyond arranging for its destruction or passing to law enforcement for prosecution.


Lastly, 260 capsules of APAP+Butalbital+Caffeine+Codeine should run around $120. If you need a Pharmacy Discount Code look at Goodrx.com for pricing where you are. You should also followup with your insurance company about reimbursement as the product was taken from you and not "lost" which is why the police report is important.
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Old Feb 8, 19, 9:17 am
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Originally Posted by MigrainePatient View Post
..........I was carrying approximately 260 capsules of Fioricet with Codeine....
That's a lot. How long was your trip for? Max dosage is 6 per day yet few people take max daily. You carried about two months worth of supply.

Perhaps you could bring a doctor's note, along with a copy of prescription, to prove medical necessity.
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Old Feb 8, 19, 10:36 am
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I really hope screeners didn't put prescription drugs in the regular trash bins. They should be given to someone in authority and disposed of properly. We've got way too much of that garbage ending up in our water systems.
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Old Feb 8, 19, 9:54 pm
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Originally Posted by TerryK View Post
That's a lot. How long was your trip for? Max dosage is 6 per day yet few people take max daily. You carried about two months worth of supply.

Perhaps you could bring a doctor's note, along with a copy of prescription, to prove medical necessity.
He was going for surgery--that means recovery time. I wouldn't blame him one bit for taking a lot of it along. I would blame the TSA for theft--they don't get to unilaterally decide to trash something. (And I have a strong suspicion the stuff didn't remain in the trash, but proving possession of a controlled substance would be hard.)
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Old Feb 9, 19, 6:46 pm
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Welcome to FT. File a claim with the TSA for the illegal seizure of your medicines. The TSA has zero authority to seize legal medicines.
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Old Feb 10, 19, 3:48 pm
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IMHO, the process for confiscating any meds should be the same as for confiscating a firearm: LE is summoned, offending items are photographed, logged, documented.

Confiscated meds should no more be tossed in the trash (or otherwise disposed of) than firearms or ammo.
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Old Feb 10, 19, 5:06 pm
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I am very surprised that this happened. The SOP for any item which is or is suspected of being contraband is to detain the passenger and the bag for a LEO. Even if OP is a drug-smuggler, the act of tossing the substance deprives law enforcement of the physical evidence it would require to make the case.

As a starting point, have you filed a complaint (online and simple) with TSA. They tend to be highly responsive and the passage of time is not a good thing.
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Old Feb 11, 19, 12:48 am
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Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
I am very surprised that this happened.
You've never read this forum then? Welcome!


The SOP for any item which is or is suspected of being contraband is to detain the passenger and the bag for a LEO. Even if OP is a drug-smuggler, the act of tossing the substance deprives law enforcement of the physical evidence it would require to make the case.
Given the history of TSA, it's odds on that they recovered it afterwards....

As a starting point, have you filed a complaint (online and simple) with TSA. They tend to be highly responsive and the passage of time is not a good thing.
Highly responsive? I see you've never dealt with TSA as well as being new here! Again, welcome, welcome! You'll learn much here.
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Old Feb 11, 19, 7:34 am
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Originally Posted by MigrainePatient View Post
I take a ton of narcotic a for migraines every 4 hours to deal with my extreme case of Chronic Migraines. I just had my meds confiscated due to the massive quantity according to the TSA agent. I had to take all of the prescription since I was going to be away for a while in order to have neurological surgery to help fix my health. I was carrying approximately 260 capsules of Fioricet with Codeine. Both are narcotics but they have different mechanisms of action is all. I explained that they were not only medically necessary and obviously prescribed but that without them Iíd have to be hospitalized due to withdrawals since I suddenly stopped the medication instead of steeping down as would be the norm if Iíd come of the medication. The TSA guy didnít care and neither did his supervisor. They pitched all of it. Iím sure it didnít help that the pharmacy decided to be lazy and just put a label on the 100 capsule bottle, it was even still sealed, they receive from the manufacturer but Iím still stuck. Hopefully my doctor will understand and provide a new script but thatís yet to be known. Also, that prescription costs well over $1000 before insurance. Since Iíve already picked up my monthly supply insurance wonít cover the medication on the event I receive a new script from my doctor. Iím not sure what the next few days will hold except for the fact Iím going through hell and will continue to do so for a while. This entire situation is preposterous but I couldnít force anything with them at the time. I had to bite my tongue and Iíll just deal with it with the courts or any other authority thatíll listen. From now on I will definitely be getting a detailed note from doctor to hopefully stop thi from happening again. Wish me luck so that this hopefully gets resolved quickly and easily. God knows what my body is going to start putting me through in the next couple days....
So sorry this happened to you. If TSA thought you were smuggling drugs, they were supposed to have called the police. Remember, we hear all the time on this site that TSA does NOT search for drugs and if they find something they suspect are drugs, they call LE to deal with it.

I imagine the drugs you lost are now in somebody else's medicine cabinet.

File a theft report with the police at the airport where these drugs were confiscated.

A doctor's note doesn't mean anything to TSA - they will claim that you could have forged it.
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Old Feb 11, 19, 9:05 am
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Originally Posted by MigrainePatient View Post
I take a ton of narcotic a for migraines every 4 hours to deal with my extreme case of Chronic Migraines. I just had my meds confiscated due to the massive quantity according to the TSA agent. I had to take all of the prescription since I was going to be away for a while in order to have neurological surgery to help fix my health. I was carrying approximately 260 capsules of Fioricet with Codeine. Both are narcotics but they have different mechanisms of action is all. I explained that they were not only medically necessary and obviously prescribed but that without them Iíd have to be hospitalized due to withdrawals since I suddenly stopped the medication instead of steeping down as would be the norm if Iíd come of the medication. The TSA guy didnít care and neither did his supervisor. They pitched all of it. Iím sure it didnít help that the pharmacy decided to be lazy and just put a label on the 100 capsule bottle, it was even still sealed, they receive from the manufacturer but Iím still stuck. Hopefully my doctor will understand and provide a new script but thatís yet to be known. Also, that prescription costs well over $1000 before insurance. Since Iíve already picked up my monthly supply insurance wonít cover the medication on the event I receive a new script from my doctor. Iím not sure what the next few days will hold except for the fact Iím going through hell and will continue to do so for a while. This entire situation is preposterous but I couldnít force anything with them at the time. I had to bite my tongue and Iíll just deal with it with the courts or any other authority thatíll listen. From now on I will definitely be getting a detailed note from doctor to hopefully stop thi from happening again. Wish me luck so that this hopefully gets resolved quickly and easily. God knows what my body is going to start putting me through in the next couple days....
I am sorry that you have had a bad experience. It sounds like the situation could have been handled much better.

I would recommend contacting TSA directly. If you would like to file a claim, you can link directly to their claims page here.

I would also recommend that if you would like to file a direct complaint with TSA, you may do so here.

In the future when you travel, you have the option to coordinate ahead of time with TSA at the TSA passenger support. Using the TSA Cares program, may help to prevent any possibility of a re-occurrence of this event.

Finally, if you wish to avail yourself of the other customer service sections of the TSA online sites, you can begin here at Contact TSA.
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Old Feb 11, 19, 11:40 am
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I would not file a complaint with TSA. Why would you alert the people who stole from you of your actions? The only contact with TSA would be a demand to preserve checkpoint video of a potential crime.

What I would do is file a complaint with the FBI. This amount of drugs is an interest at the federal level for trafficking and the suspected thieves are federal employees. You may have to explain having that quantity of medication in your possession but no worries if you have a legitimate reason. This act may be an ongoing event with these particular screeners.

Best I can tell is this drug is not a LGA and of no concern to TSA. Also TSA claims they can't confiscate anything yet did not call police.

Just one question, are you sure it was TSA who you dealt with? Not Customs/Immigration?
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Old Feb 12, 19, 8:22 am
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Originally Posted by gsoltso View Post
I am sorry that you have had a bad experience. It sounds like the situation could have been handled much better.

In the future when you travel, you have the option to coordinate ahead of time with TSA at the TSA passenger support. Using the TSA Cares program, may help to prevent any possibility of a re-occurrence of this event.
I understand that you are sincere about helping MigranePatient avoid a repeat of the experience of the next trip and I commend you for that. What I don't understand is the need to coordinate ahead of a trip with TSA in order to get them to simply follow their own rules. Quite frankly, if they can't manage to do that why should anyone believe they are competent to provide effective screening?

Of course the unspoken assumption of everyone is that the drugs were seized due to incompetence. It seems equally likely to me that they were seized for resale or recreational use by the screeners.
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Old Feb 12, 19, 8:54 am
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Originally Posted by T-the-B View Post
I understand that you are sincere about helping MigranePatient avoid a repeat of the experience of the next trip and I commend you for that. What I don't understand is the need to coordinate ahead of a trip with TSA in order to get them to simply follow their own rules. Quite frankly, if they can't manage to do that why should anyone believe they are competent to provide effective screening?

Of course the unspoken assumption of everyone is that the drugs were seized due to incompetence. It seems equally likely to me that they were seized for resale or recreational use by the screeners.
Bingo!
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Old Feb 12, 19, 9:55 am
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Originally Posted by T-the-B View Post
I understand that you are sincere about helping MigranePatient avoid a repeat of the experience of the next trip and I commend you for that. What I don't understand is the need to coordinate ahead of a trip with TSA in order to get them to simply follow their own rules. Quite frankly, if they can't manage to do that why should anyone believe they are competent to provide effective screening?

Of course the unspoken assumption of everyone is that the drugs were seized due to incompetence. It seems equally likely to me that they were seized for resale or recreational use by the screeners.
I have no idea what caused this situation to happen, I was not there, and I have no other information aside from the OPs post. We see passengers coming through with rollaboards of nothing but medications, especially if they are traveling to or from treatment. I will not defend someone doing something against the SOP/Regs, so if that was indeed the case here, then there is no excuse.

I agree with you that the passenger should be able to come in, and get the same rules applied during screening. The only reason I include the TSA Cares info, is because if they are aware ahead of time, things tend to go a bit more smoothly because they can plan for it.

Just like most things in life - if you have prior notice, you can prepare ahead of time for them. If it is feasible, you can use a closed down lane with minimal staffing to give the passenger any special assistance they need - if they are unable to prepare, shifting resources around to accommodate can take time. It is simply suggested to help streamline the process for the passenger, and by extension the TSOs.
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