Sheriff's office encourages broader use of prescription drug program

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SARASOTA COUNTY - The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office is encouraging broader use of the state’s Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP).

Investigators with the Pharmaceutical Diversion Unit recently discovered that one person obtained 178 prescriptions for Oxycodone and Hydrocodone from 56 different medical providers which were filled at 26 different pharmacies over the past two years.

Instead of visiting pain management clinics the subject went to dentists, walk-in clinics, emergency rooms, urologists, psychiatrists and other providers every few days to obtain small quantities of the potent drugs in an attempt to go undetected.

That worked until two pharmacists finally consulted the database and alerted investigators.

“We have previously pointed out that people seeking pain medications for misuse or abuse were beginning to alter their tactics,” said Sheriff Knight. “This case exemplifies why the PDMP can only be effective if it is checked by medical professionals prescribing or dispensing these powerful prescription drugs.”

Currently, the State of Florida requires that pharmacists enter data into the PDMP each time a controlled substance is dispensed, but neither medical providers nor pharmacies have to consult database records before writing or filling these prescriptions.

The availability of the database as a patient tool at this juncture is instrumental in ensuring proper medical intervention while stopping diversion, addiction and the proliferation of potent pain pills on the street.