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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 06/28/2006
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:
OBNDD SPOKESMAN MARK WOODWARD
(405) 521-2885 OR (800) 522-8031




PROGRAM BEING LAUNCHED TO HALT "DOCTOR SHOPPERS"

The Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics is launching a new program designed to curb one of the largest drug problems in the United States. Mark Woodward, Spokesman for OBN, says his agency has developed a computer system that will help identify those scamming doctors and pharmacies to illegally acquire prescription drugs.

"According to the White House Drug Czar's Office, prescription abuse is the second largest drug problem in the United States, behind marijuana use. In Oklahoma, we have an estimated 87,000 people addicted to prescription drugs. To feed their habits they are known to "doctor shop", visiting multiple doctors to obtain prescriptions, which they have filled at pharmacies in several different communities to avoid detection. "

----Mark Woodward, OBN Spokesman

In the past, Woodward says investigators would have to comb through potentially thousands of pages of medical records and prescriptions at hospitals, clinics and pharmacies to determine if a particular patient is "doctor shopping" in order to feed their addiction. Under this new computer program launched July 1st, Woodward says the same investigation could be a fast a sending an email.

"A patients' prescription history will be stored in an on-line database and if a doctor or pharmacist is suspicious about a patient or prescription, they can electronically submit a request to us to access the system. Within a very short time they'll be able to verify the prescription or, based on the person's prescription history, determine if this is a so-called "doctor shopper."

----Mark Woodward, OBN Spokesman

The on-line database will also be available for Oklahoma law enforcement to use as a tool for investigating prescription fraud. In 2004, Governor Brad Henry signed Senate Bill 1526 by Senator Wilkerson and Representative Roan creating the database. Woodward says the program was developed using federal grant money specifically set aside for prescription monitoring programs in the United States.