NSP teams with pharmacies to combat prescription fraud

The Nebraska State Patrol and area pharmacies have partnered-up to help stop prescription fraud

In the past 17 years there has been a dramatic rise in overdose deaths involving opioids. In the United States, 130 Americas die every day from overdoses.

The State Patrol and pharmacies are doing their part to stop the rise by stopping people from forging prescriptions, doctor shopping or other methods to get and sell opioids.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, three out of four new heroin users misused opioids prior to using heroin.

Pharmaceutical abuse isn't just local, it spreads out.

The NSP’s Tyler Kroenke said, “We see a lot of fake scripts. One of the big ones is for promethazine with codeine. Or any type of codeine. That is usually a criminal organization that travels across the Midwest. They recruit homeless individuals that have Medicare, Medicaid."

The reason for that is the prescriptions are cheaper. A pint of codeine has a street value of $1,000.

The NSP’s Chris Apley said, “In Omaha we are seeing a fair amount of pharmaceutical diversion involving script fraud.”

Pharmaceutical diversion isn't new but six to nine months ago NSP contacted pharmacies like Kohll's for their help.

Apley said, "As they come to pharmacy, the pharmacists are trained and they will notice any irregularities with that and contact us."

For example if someone comes into the pharmacy with a written prescription for codeine, it grabs David Kohll's attention.

Kohll said, “Most prescriptions come in electronically which helps a ton because then they aren't forged. Anytime you get a prescription that is written you are going to look at it really close.”

When that happens, Kohll reports it to NSP. Recently someone tried to forge a prescription at one of Kohll's pharmacies. NSP was there in five minutes to make the arrest.

Kohll said, “We have had a successful rate of pharmacists calling in. This is voluntary program we have.”

To put the scope of the opioid crisis in perspective, the U.S. makes up 5 percent of the world population and we consume 80 percent of opioids.