Feeling no pain in Chicago (but you may have to suffer through the sniffles)

Feeling no pain in Chicago (but you may have to suffer through the sniffles)

Illinois has cracked down on the sale of Sudafed (which can be used to make crystal meth) but it’s still remarkably easy to forge prescriptions for powerful painkillers like Vicodin. The Chicago Tribune describes the case of a woman who was able to use fake Rxs for painkillers 30 times before being caught.

Though you need to show a photo ID to buy cold medicine in Illinois, addictive medications can be obtained with nothing more than an easily faked prescription slip. Pharmacists aren’t legally obligated to verify an order is genuine, and tamper-proof prescription pads, a security measure used in other states, are not required here.

It’s a system some say is easily gamed, contributing to a plague of painkiller abuse. According to federal estimates, more than 11 million people–almost 5 percent of those ages 12 and older–used the drugs outside of a doctor’s care during the last year.

Illinois probably should improve its prescription pads, and in the meantime pharmacists may need to be more vigilant.

May 5, 2006

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