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Pharmacist Drug Fraud, Addiction Growing at Alarming Rates

The arrest of a Wauwatosa pharmacist for prescription drug fraud highlights a growing problem, as criminal defense attorney Mark Powers weighs in.

The case really wasn’t surprising, given the times in which we live. But it was highly disappointing, to say the least.

I’m talking about the recent case of a Wauwatosa pharmacist, James Kobs, who was charged with 12 felonies in connection with prescription drug thefts. The criminal complaint accuses Kobs of stealing amphetamine salts, Oxycodone, morphine and dextroamphetamine.  He pilfered more than 1,000 pills worth nearly $5,000 and he admitted to police that he had developed drug addictions.

Opiate addiction in Waukesha County, the state of Wisconsin and, indeed, the entire country is certainly explosive at this point in time.  It’s been my experience that a very high percentage of these addicts start out with some type of prescription drug addiction. They are legitimately prescribed drugs such as Vicodin, Oxycodone and Oxycontin and it becomes habit forming.  The problem only escalates from there.

Painkiller abuse has risen across the country.  For example, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 12 million Americans said they were using opium-based pain relievers without a prescription in 2010.

How does a case like Kobs’ impact consumers in general?  Simply put, it’s a red flag, something all of us need to bear in mind as we transact business with a pharmacy because we all rely on the trust factor that must exist between patient and pharmacist. That trust factor is the same as we have with our family physician.

Clearly, if you have scheduled drugs or narcotics being appropriately prescribed and discover that you’re not getting the appropriate amount of pills or dosage, you need to bring this to the attention of the pharmacy immediately. If you don’t get a satisfactory answer right away, don’t be afraid to bring it to the attention of law enforcement.

Obviously, a case like Kobs’ would be difficult for the average consumer to detect. Records were falsified and sales were voided, things that would be hard for outsiders to detect.

However, we all share the responsibility of making sure we are receiving only the medications we are prescribed and in their proper dosage.  Paying attention and reporting irregularities to the pharmacy and, if necessary, to the police could result in bringing other abusers to justice.

About Attorney Mark Powers
Attorney Mark Powers is a partner at the criminal defense law firm of Huppertz & Powers, S.C. in Waukesha. Previously, Powers served as an Assistant District Attorney with the Waukesha County District Attorney's office and is currently serving as a municipal judge in North Prairie. He focuses in the area of criminal defense, and has handled many cases involving operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated, domestic disputes, and drug offenses.

Powers attended Valparaiso University School of Law, where he received his Juris Doctorate. Prior to law school, Mark attended the University of Wisconsin, Lacrosse where he received his bachelor of science in Political Science.

For more information, please call 262.549.5979 or visit  www.waukeshacriminalattorneys.com.

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jbw February 16, 2013 at 04:56 AM
It seems to me that those opiates are prescribed far, far more than necessary (in addition to the doctors who criminally prescribe them for a bribe). I've gone out of my way to avoid them. Like any powerful drug, they have a variety of potential serious side-effects and can be permanently damaging to your health even when used as recommended. A good rule of thumb is not to use them at all unless you literally cannot function without them. If everyone did that, the resulting 90%+ drop in usage could make it a little easier to identify abuses.
games February 16, 2013 at 11:06 PM
looks like this " writer " is just a self seving youknowwhat looking for attention or buisness??? If buisness is that unusually slow, you could put on ad on craigslist.. Just a thought.....
Maybe February 17, 2013 at 01:35 AM
It must be that he knows all the details of the crime, including guilt, before any trial, because it is not possible that a former district attorney, turned defense attorney would call guilty, unless he knows the outcome. Or maybe games is on to something?
flexireal February 21, 2013 at 01:58 AM
when i was 24 yr old back in the windy city snow ,wind and ice rain and i never felt pain back them.

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