Law enforcement, pharmacies fight prescription fraud

People obtaining prescription drugs that they shouldn't have: itâ??s a growing problem.

Local pharmacists and law enforcement officers are doing all they can to curb the growing problem of prescription drug fraud and abuse.

Addicts come up with all kinds of schemes to get their prescription pills, from forging a prescription or stealing the drugs from someone's medicine cabinet to buying them on the black market.

"We do encounter it quite a bit with people that are getting prescriptions, they're selling those prescriptions off. They're obtaining them illegally," said Tom Skinner, Macon County chief deputy.

Law enforcement officers aren't the only ones trying to curb this problem.

Pharmacies are trying to stop medications from getting into the wrong hands.

Kirksville pharmacist Alice Allinson told KTVO Schedule II narcotics like Oxycontin and Percocet are the most abused.

Allinson said forged prescriptions are not a big problem locally, and there's one main reason for that.

"The government's requiring electronic prescriptions, and so patients don't actually have a prescription in their hands so much,â?? said Allinson. â??It comes over via the computers or fax, and so that's one way we're stopping the fraud and abuse problem."

A number of law enforcement agencies attended a recent training session in Macon related to prescription fraud and abuse.

"This will assist our officers and officers from other departments on how to battle this prescription drug problem because you're seeing these prescription drugs are showing up at an alarming rate," said Skinner.

And the pharmacies' methods of fighting prescription fraud aren't always high tech.

"We're small town enough, we know the doctor's signatures. We know their habits,â?? said Allinson. â??If not, we call them up, we all know them pretty well, and say, 'hey, did you write this prescription?' and, they'll verify or deny it."

The real challenge is catching those who â??doctor shoppingâ?? to get an excessive amount of prescription medications.

"There are those people who do that,â?? said Allinson. â??They go from one doctor to another doctor to another. We do catch people who do that, and when we do, we either call in law enforcement or we report it to one of their physicians.â??

Pharmacies also communicate with each other when they suspect a frequent customer might be a drug seeker.

Allinson said prescription drug fraud is a problem her pharmacy deals with on a daily basis.

Working hand-in-hand with law enforcement and doctors, they may just be able to curb the problem.