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Police want prescription drug database

Wisconsin law enforcement officials say the abuse and unauthorized sale of prescription drugs is leading to crime and sometimes fatal overdoses. They say a secure database that monitors dispensing of narcotics could help catch and deter offenders.

The cops call it 'drug diversion': getting pills by stealing someone else's prescription; or pretending to need pain control and going doctor shopping to throw off suspicion about large quantities. In Dodge County, one man is suspected of obtaining 900 pills over three months. Detective Brian Drum told lawmakers that Wisconsin needs to do what other states have done: create a database that could track how many pills one person is getting, sometimes from multiple sources.

Misuse of drugs like oxycodone, percocet and Ritalin appears to be widespread across the state. An Antigo police officer called drug diversion their number one problem. In the Town of Menasha, police officer Jason Weber says in one month, they had 12 home burglaries targeting prescription drugs. He says "burglars would walk past the iPods, the jewelry and the money, and would only take the prescription drugs."

Supporters of the database say there would be no "fishing expeditions," or unauthorized searches. Arthur Thexton, a member of the National Assocation of Drug Investigators, says one way to do this is require there be a pre-existing investigation for the person whose data is being sought.

The bill would rely on federal grants to pay for a system to track prescription drug purchases.