Spotting fake written prescriptions difficult for many pharmacists

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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - It's because of a pharmacist that a ten person opioid drug ring was busted in Mid-Michigan.

They used forged prescriptions from a stolen pad to get drugs like oxycontin and adderall to sell for cash or trade for other drugs.

Busting them wasn't easy.

Many prescriptions pass through Wilcox Pharmacy in Diamondale every day. So many that the ability to determine what’s bogus has gotten easier.

And it all starts with the quantity.

“If the handwriting isn't quite right, maybe a different colored pen, all kinds of different things along with years and years of experience doesn't hurt,” said Stephan Wilcox, owner and pharmacist at Wilcox Pharmacy.

But for many addicted to opioids where there's a will, there is always a way.

“With technology it’s its getting easier and easier to make a good fake,” said Wilcox. “You just have to look at it and pay attention to what’s coming in.”

Wilcox Pharmacy is one of many accepting electronic prescriptions today. While it eliminates the need prescription pads, It may not be the answer.

“There is always likely going to be the need for the ability for a physician to write a prescription, In some settings it just occurs you don't have access to a computer,” said Larry Wagenknecht, Chief Executive Officer at the Michigan Pharmacists Association.

Experts urge before starting any medication to familiarize yourself with its side effects.

“One of the most important pieces is for the patent to understand that the medication they're being prescribed does have side effects and there is this risk of addiction that can lead to heroin,” said Wagenknecht.

Governor Snyder established the Michigan Prescription Drug and Opioid Abuse Commission last month.

It's made up of physicians, law enforcement, and nurses working to fight the opioid epidemic.