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New Site Lets People Anonymously Report Suspicious Prescription Drug Activity

Pennsylvania has a new online tool to report suspicious prescription drug activity, in an effort to curtail illicit opioid use.

This web portal is part of the state's Prescription Drug Monitoring Program. It allows individuals to alert the state attorney general if they notice possible illegal activity around prescription drugs, like OxyContin, Percodan or Percocet.

This might include fraudulent, stolen or altered prescriptions, or someone obtaining a medication for any purpose other than treatment. Anyone can submit tips, though use is especially encouraged for doctors and pharmacists.

“We have had a lot of success already with tips from health care professionals,” said Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro. “This will make it easier for them to submit tips, and easier for us to go out and arrest the folks who are leading, contributing to this crisis.”

The American Society of Addiction Medicine reports that four out of five new heroin users start by misusing prescription medications, often obtaining these illicitly.

“Then you get hooked on that, you try to buy these pills illegally [and] they’re quite expensive,” said Shapiro. “Then the typical person who is addicted would turn to either heroin or fentanyl, because it’s very available and very cheap.”

The Allegheny County medical examiner reported earlier this year that there was a record number of drug overdose deaths in 2017. The majority of these were opioid related.