Prescription drugs have long been a problem when it comes to policing what is being taken as prescribed and what is abuse. The biggest problem is that “With prescription drugs, they’re legal to get, legal to possess. Whereas the other illegal drugs, they’re not legal to possess,” according to Onondaga County Deputy Sheriff Herb Wiggins.
Prescription drug abuse is on the rise across the country, and the Upstate New York Poison Control Center reports that there have been close to 13,000 cases just last year. That number includes cases from Central New York, which reported 3,103 cases, 1431 cases in the Southern Tier and more about 1,070 cases in North Country.
The SAFE DOSES Act was signed by President Obama recently. It was co-sponsored by Senator Schumer and is set to increase sentences for those who rob pharmacies as well as creating a new crime for stealing medical products and enhances sentences when harm occurs.
Deputy Wiggins adds, “We’re not just talking about the person that robs somebody else. We’re talking about the driver that is in charge of getting the prescriptions from the factory to the patient. Those prescriptions don’t make it, that driver is going to be facing some serious penalties.”
As a citizen, it is important to keep in mind ways that you can help prevent prescription abuse and distribution. The easiest thing for the average person to do is to keep your prescription medications in a secure place in your home, locked if possible. Also, when you have expired medicines, it is important that you don’t throw them away but rather, contact your pharmacy about proper disposal.
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