DEA prescription crackdown impacts pharmacists and patients - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

DEA prescription crackdown impacts pharmacists and patients

The Drug Enforcement Administration is tightening access to prescription painkillers. The Drug Enforcement Administration is tightening access to prescription painkillers.
DECATUR, AL (WAFF) -

The Drug Enforcement Administration is tightening access to prescription painkillers. It started with chain stores like Walgreens and CVS.

Sam Costello is a pharmacist and owner at The Pillbox in Decatur. He said there are some concerns. "They've gone to all suppliers and cut down the quota that they can purchase from the manufacturers, who have in turn, turned to all pharmacies and said 'you have a quota of these pain pills that you can buy," he said.

Costello said he applauds the effort to stop the "doctor-shopping", drug sales and abuse.

You might think this DEA crackdown only effects large chain stores. But you need to think again, because it also effects the smaller "mom & pop" pharmacies.

Costello said it's all about quotas. "When we cannot buy any more pain pills for the month because we have used our quota, we either have to tell them they have to wait until we can get the pills in or they have to go to another pharmacy to try to find them somewhere."

Costello said because this classification of drugs is entered into a statewide data system it makes the patient look guilty of pharmacy shopping when they are in fact victimized.

Kenneth Reed is such a patient. "I'm not the one out there selling this stuff. And I shouldn't have to pay for what someone else is doing."

This leg amputee's vascular problems started long ago. "My foot started turning black on me. And I was in Arizona. And I had to take an early layoff to come home and see what the problem was. And a week later they operated and did a bypass on my leg then 2 weeks later they cut it off at the knee," he recalled.

He said he has constant pain in his legs, lower back and hands. "If I don't get my medicine on any given day I can't even hardly get out of bed, and I certainly can't get out of my house."

It is a problem which right now has no quick fix solution.

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