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CBP Advises Travelers of Regulation Changes Regarding Entry of the Drug Tramadol

Release Date: 
July 18, 2014

IMPERIAL VALLEY, Calif. – U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials are advising travelers that due to new regulations, the painkiller Tramadol (Ultram, Ultracet, ConZip) will soon be prohibited from entry if purchased in Mexico without a valid U.S. prescription.

Tramadol, an opioid analgesic not previously classified as a controlled substance, is approved for the treatment of moderate to moderately severe pain in adults, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

On July 2, 2014, the DEA published in the Federal Register Volume 79, Number 127 the final rule placing tramadol into schedule IV of the Controlled Substances Act.  The new regulations will become effective on August 18, 2014, after which, travelers through the ports of entry will be required to have a U.S. prescription to bring Tramadol purchased in Mexico across the border.

“The majority of medical tourists we encounter at the Andrade port of entry purchase Tramadol in Mexico without a U.S. prescription,” said Port Director David Sarrasin.  “We want to make the public aware now in order to minimize the disruption caused by the classification change, as well as avoid possible confiscation or penalties.”

According to the DEA, Tramadol is most commonly abused by narcotic addicts, chronic pain patients, and health professionals, and carries the potential for dependency.

Failure to declare Tramadol and other medications can result in penalties ranging from confiscation, monetary fines, and in some cases, arrest and prosecution.