On Jan. 10, the Stillwater Police Department released a media statement introducing its new method for controlling unlawful distribution and consumption of prescription medications.
Department investigators found that individuals are falsifying reports to obtain supplementary quantities.
The police have observed an increase in the number of prescription medications being reported lost, stolen and most commonly abused in Stillwater, according to the news release.
Capt. Randy Dickerson said prescription drug abuse is a huge problem and is only getting worse.
“Whether the attraction to this type of activity is for personal use or to increase the amount of pills one has to sell for profit, the ability to get more pills is the attraction,” Dickerson said.
Stillwater physicians require a police report to obtain an early refill for controlled substances, the release stated.
The new law exists to prevent unnecessary early refills, which provide an opportunity to sell the surplus.
Oxycodone, Oxycontin, Hydrocodone, Adderall and Ativan are few of the most popular abused substances. The cost of these drugs depends on the type, amount and strength of the medication, Dickerson said.
Last week, two cases were presented to the Payne County District Attorney’s Office for charges of “False Reporting of a Crime;” the victims reported theft or loss of their prescriptions, according to the media release.
Under Oklahoma Statute, false reporting of a crime is a misdemeanor punishable by 90 days in jail, by a fine of at most $500, or both, according to the news release.
Both cases originated from false reports. Names are being withheld pending issuance of arrest warrants.
The police department is collaborating with organizations, such as the National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators and the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics, for information on solving this problem.
“There is a lot that goes into developing a strategy to combat this, Dickerson said. “While law enforcement wants persons legitimately needing prescription medication to be able to fill their scripts if robbed of them or if lost, we also recognize the tremendous potential of abusing the current, in place system.”
When officers respond to a report of lost or stolen prescriptions, the person reporting will need to provide the name of his or her physician for a report to be completed, the media release stated.
The physician will be contacted to ensure the physician is aware a police report is being requested and to determine whether the physician knows of any previous abuse or suspicions regarding the reporting party.
The police department created a database to record the names of anyone who has reported their medications lost or stolen, according to the media release. Individuals placed in the database must agree to submit to a polygraph examination before any reports following the theft or loss provided.
“I think it will dramatically affect this being done in our city; however, it does not eliminate the problem entirely nor does it affect surrounding communities,” Dickerson said.
Stillwater police hopes this strategy will be effective without deterring citizens from reporting legitimate crimes, according to the media release.