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Prescription drug abuse a growing problem among Americans, P.2

In our previous post, we began discussing the growing problem of prescription drug abuse in the United States. Along with the increase in prescription drug abuse has been an increase in armed robbery of pharmacies. As we noted, the number of such incidents rose 51 percent between 2006 and 2010.

According to the National Community Pharmacies Association, they pharmacy industry has been giving training and guidance to pharmacists on the issue of prescription drug abuse for nearly a decade, but efforts increased in 2008 when the Association launched a new program to help pharmacies keep themselves safe.

Recommendations included installing measuring tape in the doorway so that cameras can record the exact height of a robber and encouraging store owners to keep drugs like Oxycodone in a safe.

Some pharmacies have taken to rearranging the interior of the store to allow pharmacists to have a clear view of the entrance, as well as installing bells to alert them every time a customer enters. Employees are also increasingly being trained for suspicious behavior. In many areas, police have increased efforts to monitor pharmacies.

Since October, pharmacies in Washington state have sent the details of every prescription into a computer database in order to better monitor who is taking what. The law was enacted in 2007 in response to the growing number of overdoses and deaths from prescription drugs. Louisiana's Prescription Monitoring Program serves a similar function.

In Louisiana, one can be charged for possessing, trafficking, distributing or manufacturing any controlled substance. That includes prescription drugs. The consequences of such charges can be serious, and the accused need to understand the importance of securing a solid defense.

Source: CBS News, "RX abuse brings drug crime to the corner store," Julia Dahl, January 6, 2012.

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