By Howard Packowitz
NORMAL – A case of what authorities said was illegal pharmacy shopping for opioids in Bloomington-Normal has led to federal legislation aimed at curbing the spread of the highly-addictive painkiller.
At a news conference Friday in Uptown Normal, Central Illinois Republican Congressman Rodney Davis joined local leaders and police to introduce a bill requiring people with opioid prescriptions to show identification to the pharmacist.
“Those who are in the business of possibly selling those pills, those who are addicted and maybe using those pills, they need to be able to tell that pharmacist who they are so that law enforcement can go find out who the bad actors are,” said Davis.
The congressman said the need for the legislation became apparent last summer when local police arrested three Chicago area residents who went from pharmacy to pharmacy trying to fill fraudulent opioid prescriptions.
Normal Police Sgt. Adam Kapchinske said pharmacists became suspicious and called police.
“They did a great job recognizing something was up. They kind of understand that they had a cycle of two or three people coming in with extremely high and rare prescriptions. So they brought it to our attention that something was out of place,” Sgt. Kapchinske said.
The matter was brought to the congressman’s attention by the Sergeant and Normal Town Councilman Jeff Fritzen.
Davis’ bill also calls for information about opioid prescriptions to be entered into a presciption drug monitoring data base.
The congressman said his proposal is a good first step in breaking the cycle of opioid addiction. Davis expects the bill to pass because he said opioid abuse is not a partisan issue.
Howard Packowitz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org