Pharmacies use online tool to fight prescription drug abuse

By: Helen Headlee Email
By: Helen Headlee Email

According the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics, last year 80 percent of drug overdoses in Oklahoma involved prescription drugs.To bring that number down some pharmacies are using tools to put a cap on abuse.

"We're able to search to make certain that a person isn't going to many doctors or many different pharmacies," said pharmacist Rebecca Reed.

Reed of Reed Family Pharmacy is talking about the Prescription Monitoring Program.It's a website that allows pharmacists to look up a patient's name and see what medications they're taking and what doctors they're seeing.

If the patient is going to multiple doctors or pharmacies, pharmacists can call those physicians and alert them to multiple prescriptions, visits to other doctors or suspicious behavior.

"There can be all sorts of reasons for that nervousness, but sometimes we'll just wonder if they're going to different places and we'll actually pull up the website," said Reed.

In addition to the website, pharmacists are required by state law to ask for two government-issued photo ID's: one for the person taking the medication and one for the person picking it up.

But Mark Woordward with the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics said the drugs are still widely available.

"In the medicine cabinet of your own home it's much easier access for an addict or a teenager than trying to go buy something," he said.

Which is why pharmacy's want to put on a lid on abuse at the source.

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