Sales of amphetamines in Wisconsin have dropped approxiamtely 97 percent since November, when state officials banned the use of the drug for weight control.
The amphetamine ban imposed by the state Controlled Substances Board provides that physicians who prescribe amphetamines for treatment fo obesity be charged with unprofessional conduct. They also face possible suspension of their licenses.
The ban is being monitored closely by the Drug Enforcement Agency, which is compiling sales data for the state Controlled Substances Board.
he CSB released some of the sales data to The Washington Post yesterday, revealing that distributors' sales have dropped dramatically.
The state's largest distributor, which serves the Milwaukee area, reported a drop of 97 percent in the sale of Biphetamine 20 or "Black Beauties," the most popular amphetamine sold in Wisconsin.
In 1977, before the Nov. 1 ban, the distributor sold an average of 27,000 doses of the drug per month. During the month of January, only 700 doses were sold.
Lectors still may prescribe amphetamines for other medical problems, such as depression, narcolepsy, (un-controllable sleep), and hypokinesis, a brain disorder.
"The figures show that the policy is being observed," said David Joranson, of the Controlled Substances Board in a telephone interview. "We have eliminated the use of amphetamines for all but necessary treatment."
Joranson said pharmacies throughout Wisconsin are either returning to the manufacturer or destroying existing supplies of amphetamines.
The Wisconsin ban attracted national attention when it was put into last year. State officials said they felt amphetamine use had grown to "monumental proportions," and represented a more pressing problem than illegal substances like marijuana and cocaine.
"Pills are easier to abuse," Joranson said at that time, "because they are legal in certain instances."
He warned that many doctors were apparently making large sums of money by permitting people to buy big quantities of amphetamines with prescripitions for treatment of alleged weight problems.
Although published reports have placed the weight control use of the drug at up to 88 per cent of all amphetamine use, Joranson says new figures show that usage for alleged obesity is even higher.*