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Upgrade prescription tracking

The Deer Park Community Center will host

The Deer Park Community Center will host "Shed the Meds” Pharmaceutical Disposal Day from noon to 2 p.m. Sept. 12 at the center at 41 Homer Ave. Photo Credit: Newsday/Thomas A. Ferrara

The point of having classifications of controlled substances in the United States is controlling them. That must be done better with opiates like the ones David Laffer allegedly stole during a robbery and multiple murders in a pharmacy last month.

Prescription drug abuse is on the rise, leading to more pharmacy robberies, and the main substances involved are oxycodone and hydrocodone. These drugs are necessary for many people. They're being prescribed more and more, and this may in some cases reflect physicians who seem unaware how easy it is to become addicted, and need to be more careful with their pads. It is also, though, just the reality of an aging population that requires more pain management.

Prescription medication dispensing needs to be tightly overseen. A recent bill proposed by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman would establish a database to enable pharmacies to see when customers are getting drugs from multiple locations, or prescribed by multiple doctors, and whether prescriptions that patients bring in have been legally issued. This would help considerably.

And the federal government needs to crack down on Internet pharmacies that are selling these drugs with or without prescriptions.

But just as important may be increasing the awareness of parents and grandparents that for some kids, the medicine cabinet has become the new liquor cabinet, and they're sampling.