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Pharmacists Help Customers Stop Prescription Drug Abuse

Pharmacists Help Customers Stop Prescription Drug Abuse

Heather Stringer, Monster Contributing Writer

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Some states have made sleuthing easier for pharmacists. For example, 17 states have controlled-substance prescription monitoring programs, according to the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP). In Kentucky, when a pharmacist fills a prescription for a controlled substance, the information is transmitted from the pharmacy to a state database. Pharmacists can request a report on a customer if they need information from multiple pharmacies.

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Also, 25 states are cracking down on the sale of over-the-counter drugs that contain ingredients such as pseudoephedrine, used in the illegal production of methamphetamine, the NABP says. In Oklahoma, for example, customers cannot buy more than 9 grams of pseudoephedrine over the counter in a 30-day period. Pharmacists keep track by having customers sign a ledger.

Intervention Often Welcome

Although such laws can add to pharmacists’ workloads, the reward comes in knowing drugs are being used properly. Most customers who abuse prescription drugs didn’t plan on becoming an addict and often welcome intervention, says Fry.

Shafer once had a female customer with an asthmatic condition who came to his pharmacy for Hycodan, a cough medicine. He noticed that over time, her prescription rose from 4 ounces to 16 ounces. One day she came in with a prescription from a different doctor, claiming her own doctor was unavailable. After making some calls, Shafer discovered this wasn’t true.

Shafer told the woman that she seemed to be taking a lot of medication and that he had notified her doctor. She broke down and admitted she had a problem. “She was really glad someone had stopped her,” he says. “Most people who are in that situation are not happy about being there. That’s the positive side of confronting them.”

This article originally appeared on Monster Career Advice.

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