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Several arrested for prescription drug fraud, preventing addiction in the Arklamiss

July 13, 2018, Baton Rouge, LA — In the past few weeks our area has had several instances of prescription fraud. According to arrest reports West Monroe Police charged a Baton Rouge man on two counts of attempt to obtain prescription by fraud. Pharmacists stepped in and notified police when the man tried on two different occasions to fill a prescription for Promethazine with Codeine and Oxycodone.

Metro Narcotics arrested a Monroe man and woman earlier this month for trying to fill a prescription with a stolen prescription pad.

Opioid related deaths are on the rise in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention more than 100 Americans die every day from drug overdoses. The agency says deaths from opioid abuse have tripled over the last two decades. Experts say it doesn't take long for a person to become hooked.

"Three to five days the body could develop a dependency on opioid medication," says Dr. Martha Phillips, Director of Clinical Services at the Northeast Delta Human Services Authority.

Dr. Phillips says those struggling with addiction will do whatever it takes to get their hands on pain killers and other medications.

"Purposefully breaking an arm or a leg or having a car accident which will then get them into an emergency room."

And when they land in that room they have a scheme ready.

"They already have a plan of action how they will acquire prescription pads", says Dr. Phillips.

Head pharmacist Sara Barham at Community Pharmacy in Monroe says after multiple break ins they added extra security precautions. They installed roll up doors to cover all entrances. Barham says she believes the crime is related the opioid epidemic surrounding us.

"They were looking for drugs that had street value."

She says there's certain things she looks for when fulfilling a prescription.

"One of them is anything like an amount that's changed that's the most common one where

you can see where if it's written for 10 they might go back and put a zero behind the 10 for 100

where doctors are trying to avoid that though they will write in parentheses the written amount", says Barham.

Another safety precaution the pharmacy took is a computerized safe where all the prescription medicines are housed.

"It will count the prescription and take a picture of the pills on the tray", says Barham.

Preventing customers from coming back in claiming a pharmacist made a mistake counting out the pills.

Louisiana state law mandates a prescription monitoring program.

"We input the patient and it shows us what they've been prescribed by whom and when they received it", says Barham.

The database aims to prevent people from doctor shopping.

"Looking for another physician who does not know their history that may potentially prescribe them additional medications", says Dr. Phillips.

She says its vital we educate people people making them aware there are other ways to deal with pain.

"Introduce other types of therapy massage therapy physical therapy."


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