Expert Shares Tactics to Curb Theft and Abuse of Prescription Medications
Close to 50 officers from police departments, sheriffâ€™s offices and government agencies located across Arkansas attended an educational seminar
in Walnut Ridge on Tuesday, May 10, to learn how to fight illegal trafficking and abuse of prescription medications. The seminar was co-sponsored by the Lawrence County Sheriff Department with additional educational support provided by pharmaceutical company Purdue Pharma L.P.
Attendees included law enforcement officers from mostly all of the counties in the Northeast
section of Arkansas â€“ Baxter, Sharp, Randolph and Craighead. The education session was
led by Ritch Wagner and Ed Cartwright from Purdue Pharmaâ€™s Law Enforcement Liaison &
Education Department. Wagner and Cartwright has close to 60 years of law enforcement
experience, including investigating the illegal trafficking (or â€œdiversionâ€) of prescription
medications. The session covered the types of medications that are targets for theft, illegal sale
and abuse, common methods of diverting prescription medications and the difference between
lawful and unlawful prescribing by healthcare professionals.
Attendees also learned about what law enforcement officials can do to deter pharmacy theft.
RxPATROLÂ®, a program created and funded by Purdue Pharma L.P., helps pharmacists guard
against robberies and burglaries and assists law enforcement efforts to catch pharmacy crime
suspects. To date, law enforcement has used the program in combination with reward offers
through local Crime Stoppers programs to catch more than 100 pharmacy theft suspects.
“â€œIt is vital for our law enforcement community to keep abreast of changing trends in order to
learn to identify the problems associated with this abuse and take steps to prevent it,â€ said
Sheriff Jody Dotson, Lawrence County Sheriff Department. â€œTodayâ€™s training is vital tool for law
enforcement and the criminal justice community and shows the benefits of public and private
sector resources working together for public safety.”
Wagner and Cartwright discussed how the illegal trafficking and abuse of prescription
medications can interfere with the care of people with serious illnesses and injuries.
â€œThese medications have a legitimate purpose when used as directed,â€ according to Wagner
with Purdue Pharmaâ€™s Law Enforcement Liaison & Education Department. â€œHowever, abusing
prescription medications can have dangerous and even deadly consequences and can make it
harder for people who need these medications to get them.â€
The Lawrence County Sheriff Department is urging everyone to take precautions to prevent
prescription drug abuse.
â€œPeople should secure medications in the home, encourage friends and relatives to safeguard
their medications” said Sheriff Dotson, the Sheriff also reminds everyone that the permanent Prescription Drop Box is located in the lobby of the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Ofiice for public use. For more information visit the Sheriff’s Website at www.lawrencecountysheriffsoffice.com.