Addressing Rx Abuse

Cmdr John Burke
Published Online: Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Two new ventures from the National Associations of Drug Diversion Investigators focus on the prevention of diversion in children and reducing barriers to reporting pharmaceutical crimes.


Dougie The Drug Dog 

Abuse and diversion by 12- to 17-yearolds has been well documented; in fact, the #1 substance of abuse with this age group is pharmaceuticals. One of the main sources of these drugs is the family home, mainly the medicine cabinet. Although much has been done and is being done to survey teens to try to deal with this issue, the National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators (NADDI) wanted to reach a much younger age group, in the hopes of ultimately reducing this problem by the time this group becomes teenagers. 

This spawned the idea of using “Dougie the Drug Dog,” a real police canine in Southwest Ohio, in a coloring book. Dougie has the unique ability of detecting a variety of the most popular abused pharmaceuticals. Dougie’s handler, Officer Jason Doerman with the Pierce Township Police Department, works with his canine partner every day on the streets attempting to weed out prescription drug offenders. 

The coloring book is designed for 2- to 10- year-olds and contains 20 pages of fun. It not only contains topical pages illustrating health professionals, Dougie, and Officer Doerman, but also provides pages of puzzles and games for the children to complete while they learn. The book teaches them that prescription drugs are good for you if prescribed by your doctor, dispensed by your pharmacist, and given to you by your parents or other trusted adults. In addition, a full-page message to parents detailing the abuse and diversion of pharmaceuticals is on the inside back cover. This message informs parents of how to dispose of outdated or unneeded medications, and how to secure the pharmaceuticals that they do need to keep and use. 

The ultimate goal of this important program is for parents to learn about the abuse and diversion of prescription drugs and to make them aware that they can be unwitting enablers of potential abusers. Taking inventory of prescription drugs in the home, properly disposing of those that are not needed, and securing what you do keep is essential in helping to prevent the abuse and diversion of pharmaceuticals with this country’s 12- to 17-year-old children. More information can be obtained at www.dougiethedrugdog.com.

RXTIP.ORG

NADDI also recently launched a brand-new program designed to provide individuals with information about a pharmaceutical crime with a method to report these offenses and remain anonymous if they wish. A link to this Web site is on the front page of NADDI’s Web site at www.naddi.org. It can also be reached directly at www.RxTip.org.

The Web site provides the potential tipster a form to fill out that includes the exact location where the drug diversion crime is occurring and the type of pharmaceutical crime being committed. Posting the tipster’s name and contact information is optional, but we encourage including as much detail as possible on the online form.

Once completed, the form comes directly to NADDI, which then has the responsibility to pass the information on to the appropriate law enforcement agency for follow-up investigation. Obviously, the more information provided by the tipster, the more likely law enforcement will be able to successfully process the tips for the welfare of the community.

There are no rewards offered in this program; however, the confidentiality of the source is assured. Also, there is a commitment that the law enforcement agency responsible for the crime will be alerted and encouraged to follow up. Crimes can include theft, the illegal sale of prescription drugs, forged or altered prescriptions, doctor shopping, and pharmacy burglaries and robberies, as well as other offenses.

Both of these new programs are aimed at ultimately reducing the incidence of prescription drug abuse. NADDI is a non-profit organization that facilitates cooperation between law enforcement, health care professionals, state regulatory agencies, and pharmaceutical manufacturers in the prevention and investigation of prescription drug diversion and requires grants or donations to carry out these and other projects. For more information about NADDI, visit www.naddi.org. PT


Editor's Note: Another tool was recently introduced to help fight pharmacy crime. Pharmacy staff, law enforcement officials, and loss prevention personnel can now follow updates about pharmacy robberies, burglaries and potential threats in their area and nationwide through RxPatrol's Twitter page. The tweets provide safety and security tips for pharmacy staff that may help them better protect customers and their businesses. For more information, click here.


Cmdr Burke is commander of the Warren County, Ohio, drug task force and retired commander of the Cincinnati Police Pharmaceutical Diversion Squad.  Cmdr Burke is a 40-year veteran of law enforcement and the current president of the National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators. He can be reached by e-mail at burke@choice.net, via the Web site www.rxdiversion.com, or by phone at 513-336-0070. 



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