The DEA has launched a new program to help fight the prescription pill epidemic sweeping the nation. Many professionals believe that we are losing the battle against prescription painkiller abuse. Since 1999, prescription painkiller overdoses have jumped close to 300%. It is in every town and affects millions of people's lives around the country. In order to help combat the abuse, the DEA has recently created a trial system to help people anonymously report painkiller abuse through text messaging. It is currently being tested in the state of Georgia and in the city of Philadelphia. Hopefully the feedback they receive will be good enough for the DEA to implement this program across the country.
One of the main focuses of the program like this is people who work in healthcare industry. Those who have access to both doctors and prescriptions who may be abusing or selling pills. If you see something you think is suspicious you can anonymous report it. An example would be a co-worker who makes $10 an hour, making extravagant expensive purchases. Patients who come in to get their prescriptions filled for both a depressant and a stimulant. (A lot of abusers want to have both in order to keep them up, or go to sleep) but it is not normal practice for a physician to write a prescription for both.
In a time where prescription drug abuse is rampant, programs like this will be helpful to curb the use. People do not want to call the police or get involved with people who they think may be connected to illegal pill activity. This program allows anyone to anonymously text the authorities/DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency). Pharmacists will be able to protect themselves if they believe something isn't right, but can not prove something illegal is going on. Law enforcement does not want you to investigate or put yourself in harms way to figure out if a crime is being committed. If you have a bad feeling or see something illegal, contact the number if you live in a participating area. (See contact information below)
Prescription pill addiction affects all ages, classes, and genders. Most people that become addicted starting using pills out of their own homes, taking medications from family members or friends. A pill here and there quickly escalates to someone doing illegal activity in order to feed their addiction. It is a common practice for addicts to steal prescription pads from doctor's offices to write their own prescriptions. In many cases the pads are altered with a redirected phone number where an accomplice verifies the prescription when the pharmacy calls. Abusers will also call in prescriptions acting as the doctor themselves. These types of practices can be texted to the tip line to report the illegal activities. If a pharmacist sees a customer coming in too often to receive prescriptions for the same drug, they can also easily report it.
I believe this program will greatly affect illegal activity related to prescription pills. It gives professionals who work in these fields a form of security to send anonymous tips. It also provides neighbors with a way of reporting illegal activities that they may witness. I hope this program spreads all over the country as it can only benefit our communities.
To report a tip, text TIP411, or 847-411, and then use the keyword PILLTIP. The message will be forwarded to a DEA agent who will investigate.