Prescription drug addiction has become a public health crisis. More people abuse prescription medications today than ever before, and overdose deaths from prescription drugs are also on the rise. It’s now been reported that addicts are raiding medicine cabinets at open houses to get their fix.
There are many barriers in place designed to make it difficult for patients to misuse prescription drugs, and many people who become addicted to one of these medications have to become creative in order to satisfy their addictions.
Creative Ways Addicts Illegally Continue To Get Their Fix
Some people, at least for a time, are able to continue renewing their valid prescriptions long after the medication has stopped being medically necessary. Other people, particularly those who develop a tolerance for their original dose of medication, visit multiple doctors to get more than one prescription.
This practice is commonly referred to as doctor shopping. Some are able to find an illegal source for prescription drugs, such as another patient who has an active prescription but has stopped using the medication. Others who become addicted to prescription opiates have begun to turn to the illegal opiate heroin, which is, ironically, easier and cheaper for many people to obtain.
The power of an addiction also drives some people to steal when they are not able to obtain their drugs any other way. Many steal from family and friends, since these are the houses and medicine cabinets to which they have easy access. However, it’s been reported that in San Diego, people with prescription drug addictions—and others who hope to take advantage of people with addictions—are visiting open houses and stealing prescription medications from strangers.
The city of San Diego has become so worried about this trend that it is creating public service announcements to air on local television and radio stations.
Why Open Houses Make Appealing Targets
Open houses can be relatively easy targets for people on the hunt for prescription medications. At busy open houses, there is often only a single realtor to oversee the proceedings and answer questions. Many open houses are informal, and anyone is welcome to come in and explore without having to provide identification, demonstrate serious interest or face any other screening measures.
The realtor group says that people who steal drugs from open houses will often operate in pairs to help ensure that they will not be discovered in the act of stealing. One of the two will occupy the attention of the realtor, while the other searches through the medicine cabinets in the house.
Because of these informal conditions, most sellers take precautions such as locking up jewelry, small electronics and other valuable items that could be easily pilfered by visitors coming in off the street. However, many sellers do not think about the value of their prescription drugs, or the temptation they may pose to someone with an addiction.
As part of its efforts to fight this problem, the Greater San Diego Association of Realtors is providing its more than 12,000 members with plastic bags, and encouraging them to collect and secure all prescription medications in the houses they are showing to the public. The city of San Diego also hopes that the public service announcements will encourage homeowners to secure their prescription medications prior to making their homes open to visitors.
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