The CDC said that almost all prescription drugs involved in overdoses come from prescriptions originally, and few come from pharmacy theft. However, once they are prescribed and dispensed, prescription drugs are frequently diverted to people using them without prescriptions. The federal agency reported that more than three out of four people who misuse prescription painkillers use drugs prescribed to someone else.
New York and many other states have prescription drug monitoring programs, consisting of electronic databases that track the prescribing and dispensing of controlled prescription drugs to patients. The programs are designed to thwart suspected abuse or diversion and provide doctors and pharmacists with real-time information on a patients’ prescription drug history, helping to avoid so-called doctor shopping.
Local officials said that some people whose painkiller addictions become unmanageable resort to buying heroin on the streets if they can’t access the prescription drugs.
Otsego County Sheriff Richard Devlin Jr. said patients who acquire prescription drugs should store them in a secure and safe place to minimize the chance they will be stolen.
If the prescribed drugs are stolen, he said, pharmacies will no longer refill the prescription unless a police report is filed.
When a person dies from an accidental overdose, he said, not only the police but the county coroner’s office also becomes involved.
“Unattended deaths are investigated by the coroner, and an autopsy is done,” the sheriff said.