The abuse of opiates and other prescription drugs presents a different set of policing and enforcement problems than the use of illegal drugs such as cocaine or methamphetamines. When the drug being abused is legally prescribed and obtained the number of potential sources of the drug is limited only by the number of physicians who will write a prescription. One of the tools states use to help limit the overprescribing of opiates and other commonly abused prescription drugs is the use of a prescription drug monitoring program that collects data regarding all prescriptions of controlled substances. Ohio established its own prescription monitoring program in 2006 and it is known as the Ohio Automated Rx Reporting System, or OARRS.
What is OARRS?
The Ohio Automated Rx Reporting System (OARRS) was created in 2006 under authority granted by the Ohio General Assembly to the State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy for the establishment of a drug database to monitor the misuse and diversion of controlled substances. Under OARRS, data is provided to the system regarding all controlled substance prescriptions in Ohio.
The controlled substance prescription data is reported every 24 hours. The information is then made available to doctors and pharmacists, allowing them to cross-check the prescription histories of their patients and customers.
The Benefits of OARRS
A readily accessible database regarding prescriptions of controlled substances in Ohio helps both public health and law enforcement. Doctors and pharmacists are able to see the prescription history of an individual, which can help them to spot dangerous interactions between prescribed drugs or provide warning signs of possible opiate abuse. The data can help law enforcement identify individuals who go to multiple doctors in order to obtain several prescriptions of the same controlled substance- a process known as doctor shopping. An individual could utilize doctor shopping in order to obtain additional prescriptions for their own addiction or to resell the drugs for profit.
Data provided by OARRS in its 2015 annual report illustrates the benefit of a prescription monitoring program in deterring doctor shopping. In the period from 2009 to 2015 the number of queries in OARRS has increased by more than 3,100 percent as a review of the prescription histories of patients and customers has become the common practice in Ohio. In turn, the number of individuals doctor shopping has decreased from 2,493 in 2010 to only 720 in 2015.
How a Cincinnati Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Help
The power of OARRS to assist law enforcement in identifying doctor shopping also means that it greatly increases the likelihood of someone getting caught if they attempt to illegally obtain or sell controlled prescription drugs in Ohio. If you obtain a controlled substance through the use of deception it is considered a felony in Ohio and the penalties can be severe. You will need an experienced and knowledgeable Cincinnati criminal defense lawyer to help fight the drug charges you are facing.
Attorney Brad Groene at Luftman, Heck & Associates is a Cincinnati criminal defense lawyer who has represented clients facing a wide range of drug charges over the years and has worked hard to achieve the best possible outcome in each case. Contact Luftman, Heck & Associates to get the help that you need.
Call (513) 338-1890 to set up a free and confidential consultation.