When people speak of the opioid crisis, images of addicts dependent on illegal drugs come to mind. The truth is that many people struggle with addiction to prescription medication. In fact, many health care professionals have faced charges related to the opioid crisis in the past year or two.

BlueCross BlueShield identifies prescription abuse as one of the biggest public health obstacles America faces. One factor contributing to this is prescription fraud.

The effects

Experts estimate that prescription fraud puts millions of lives in danger and leads to billions of dollars in medication going to people who do not have medical need of them. Unfortunately, when people become addicted to medication doctors prescribed, they often turn to deception to get more of them. When this fails, they might rely on purchasing drugs from other people who turn to deception to get the drugs.

The affected areas

There is no corner of America untouched by the prescription abuse crisis. However, some areas face greater problems than others. The East Coast suffers disproportionately. The Southeast accounts for 48% of prescription fraud cases. The Northeast accounts for another 26%. In contrast, the entire West accounts for only 20% and the Central or Midwestern States account for only 6%.

The methods

The Department of Justice does have best practices in place for pharmacists to follow. Ideally, the DOJ recommends that pharmacists should learn to recognize patients and double-check all prescriptions. Learning to spot forged prescriptions is another recommendation. Here are some features pharmacists look out for:

  • The handwriting is too clear and legible.
  • The information looks too textbook perfect.
  • Doses do not match recommendations.
  • The document looks photocopied.
  • There are different handwriting types on the same document.

As the opioid crisis continues to take lives and disrupt families across America, the Drug Enforcement Administration continues to find new ways to infiltrate and disrupt supply chains. The aim is often to punish, but many people now wonder if providing treatment might not offer better options.