The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) launched a new program and website during its annual meeting in May.
The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) launched a new program and website during its annual meeting in May. The program revolves around the request that pharmacists pledge to put forth more effort in attempting to reduce pharmaceutical diversion in all facets.
The new website, www.awarerx.org, details the pledge for pharmacists and gives resources for a variety of drug diversion problems. It talks about the new rules from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) for the collection of controlled substances by DEA license holders. The Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act is detailed, giving pharmacists the guidelines if they choose to participate in this program. The Red Flags of Diversion video is also available for viewing and uses actors to recreate some common forms of diversion by drug seekers and retail pharmacists. This product came out of NABP’s 2014 meeting in Phoenix and does a good job of educating retail pharmacists as they do their everyday job.
A variety of posters and flyers are available on the website for patients, as well. They discuss rogue Internet drug sites and proper disposal of medications from medicine cabinets. These are 2 topics for the average patient that cannot be stressed enough. The majority of prescription websites are illegal, with no doctor—patient relationship, and the need to get outdated or unused medications out of the family’s medicine cabinet should be a constant reminder for patients. I strongly feel we do not do enough in educating patients—often the individuals who can prevent the diversion issue in the first place. The website also contains tips for compounding pharmacists. This information is the product of the 2013 NABP meeting and stems from a Michigan board member’s explanation of the difference between compounding and manufacturing.
Pharmacy robberies continue to increase in frequency across the country and this, too, is discussed on the website. RxPATROL, a product of Purdue Pharma LP, helps to track and analyze pharmacy robberies across the country. Its ultimate goal is to foster collaboration between retail pharmacies and law enforcement. This valuable service allows law enforcement to identify a possible pattern in pharmacy robberies and has been very effective in tracking down these criminals for prosecution. It is important to promptly report to these folks if your store has a robbery.
The website also provides some of the most common federal agencies to consult when having an issue with the diversion of controlled substances. I would have liked to see, however, some mention of state and local law enforcement since they are the most likely partners you will have in everyday drug diversion issues in your store. In prior articles, I have discussed at length that getting to know local law enforcement is huge in trying to prevent these robberies and in investigative efforts if the prevention efforts fail; they will be the first ones to respond in case of an emergency and will likely provide the follow-up investigation if a crime has been committed. The last section of the website asks the pharmacist for suggestions on stopping diversion.
I urge all of you to strongly consider taking the pledge on the NABP website and getting more involved in preventing prescription drug abuse. Reducing prescription drug abuse is our responsibility as health professionals or members of law enforcement. Prescribers must become more educated about the red flags of diversion and be willing to listen and consider constructive remedies offered by pharmacists. We hear the need to all work together in any number of situations daily, but many times, this is easier said than done.
I think hard work by all parties in reducing prescription drug abuse, along with the public’s cooperation, can make a big difference. We need to get everybody on the same page and work in a positive manner toward reducing this killer called drug diversion.
Cmdr Burke is a 40-year veteran of law enforcement and the past president of the National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators. He can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com or via the website www.rxdiversion.com.