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GetSmart About Drugs - A DEA Resource for Parents

News Release
October 21, 2004

DEA and National Association of Chain Drug Stores Expand Cooperation

Columbus, Ohio- On October 14, 2004, members of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administrations (DEA) Diversion Units from the Detroit Field Division attended a conference hosted by the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS). The gathering was designed to expand cooperation between the DEA and NACDS for tracking, reporting and monitoring pharmacy thefts of controlled substances. The conference was attended by approximately sixty (60) corporate representatives of the countries largest drug store chains and state board of pharmacy members.

Many people don’t realize that in addition to conducting investigations of illegal drug traffickers, the DEA is responsible for monitoring and regulating the manufacture and distribution of controlled substances dispensed at pharmacies, hospitals and doctors offices throughout the United States. The conference discussed current drug diversion and theft trends both regionally and locally across the nation. The National Association of Chain Drug Stores has developed a new electronic reporting system for their members which will track pharmacy thefts and that information will be electronically reported to DEA. This will assist the DEA and pharmacies to identify specific drug diversion problems geographically in a more timely fashion. Abuse patterns and security concerns can therefore be identified early and proactive efforts made to eliminate these issues.

The Michigan Board of Pharmacy discussed the Michigan Automated Prescription System (MAPS). The MAPS program is used by physicians and pharmacists to monitor controlled substance use by their patients. This electronic information system should have a dramatic impact on reducing individual’s ability to “doctor shop” or “pharmacy shop”. This is where subjects try to acquire controlled substances from multiple doctors or pharmacies for the same alleged ailment. Physicians previously had no method of knowing if their “patients” were seeing other doctors for the same issue and receiving controlled substances.

Members of the conference also discussed that while robberies and burglaries are increasing at pharmacies around the country, employee theft of controlled substances is still the largest contributor to pharmacy diversion.

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