While most pharmacists and pharmacy technicians are upstanding citizens who do their jobs well, there are a few who take advantage of their position to feed a drug habit. While this is a problem nationwide, the state of Maine has been hit particularly hard by this issue. According to an investigation by the Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting of state disciplinary records, from 2003 to 2013, 16 pharmacists and 41 pharmacy technicians lost their licenses for stealing drugs from pharmacy shelves or from the patients whose prescriptions they filled. Their research also uncovered that more than one-third of the prescription drugs stolen from pharmacies in the state are taken by employees.
The most commonly stolen pills are also the most commonly abused: Opiate-based painkillers. Some law enforcement and medical officials in Maine worry that many pharmacists may be impaired while they are on the job.
"If you've got a pharmacist that's working impaired, the public's going to be at more of a risk for the pharmacist making mistakes because he's not of sound mind and judgment," said Greg Cameron, a pharmacy professor and former investigator for the Maine Board of Pharmacy, to the Maine Sun Journal.
In recent years, the state of Maine has made punishments for prescription thefts much more severe. Those caught stealing face steep fines and the revocation of their licenses.
Prescription drug abuse can affect people of all walks of life. If someone you love is struggling with addition, contact Intervention Services today. An experienced interventionist can assist your friend or relative in entering an effective treatment program.