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Arizona city to fingerprint pharmacy customers

Thursday, February 03, 2011 by: Jonathan Benson, staff writer
Tags: pharmacy, fingerprints, health news

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(NaturalNews) Some residents of Peoria, Ariz., may soon have to get fingerprinted before picking up their medications at the pharmacy. The Phoenix suburb is considering passing an ordinance that would require users of highly-abused drugs like OxyContin and Percocet to not only get fingerprinted, but also to be videotaped as they pick up the drugs.

The plan aims to deter abusers from making unlawful purchases, but civil rights advocates say the measure is a violation of privacy rights. The fact that even family members picking up prescriptions for their loved ones would be required to get fingerprinted is over the line, say some.

"The proposed law is not limited to those persons who are suspected of fraud and the great majority of those involuntarily required to be printed will never be subjects of a criminal prosecution," said the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in a statement. Arizona ACLU legal director Daniel Pochoda also stated at a pharmacy board meeting that the proposal turns pharmacies into "annexes for police stations" by requiring druggists to treat all their customers as potential criminals.

"I don't like labeling patients who take chronic medications as abusers," said John Musil, a pharmacist and member of the pharmacy board. "I don't see why I as a pharmacist am now going to become a law official. That's not what I was trained to do."

But city and other officials disagree, citing the numerous and growing number of abuse cases occurring each and every year. Addicts routinely take advantage of the system to obtain the dangerous, highly-addictive drugs, many of which are a serious societal threat due to their extreme side effects, which include impaired judgment.

"We have a problem with fraudulent prescriptions and the value of the pills on the street," said city attorney Steve Kemp to reporters from ABC 15 in ( ). And several months ago, the Peoria Police Department issued a report warning the public about a "huge black market" for OxyContin and other serious painkillers that is allegedly sweeping the nation.

Others say the pharmaceutical industry deserves some of the blame because it pushes highly-addictive drugs on patients for all sorts of conditions, causing patients to become reliant on them.

Sources for this story include:

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