Bryan Cohen May 2, 2013, 7:00pm

NEWARK, N.J. (Legal Newsline) -- New Jersey Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa announced Wednesday the publication of a fully modern set of pharmacy security best practices to prevent drug theft and diversion at retail pharmacies.

The recommendations, which were published by Chiesa's Division of Consumer Affairs and the State Board of Pharmacy, are part of a multi-tiered strategy to battle the growing problem of prescription drug abuse.

The Best Practices for Pharmacy Security include measures above and beyond the current measures required by the state's Pharmacy Regulations and Controlled Dangerous Substances Regulations.

"Stolen prescription drugs, like drugs obtained through fraudulent prescriptions, inevitably make their way into the hands of those seeking to abuse them," Chiesa said in a statement.

"This list of security practices, developed in close coordination with stakeholders from both government and industry, represents the best steps pharmacists can take to protect their inventory from diversion and ensure that medication is dispensed only according to a valid prescription."

The recommendations are meant to prevent the loss of controlled dangerous substances and other drugs due to employee theft, burglary and robbery, and to identify instances of doctor-shopping and the fraudulent use of stolen, altered or forged prescriptions.

The list of recommended practices were developed as part of a year-long process of dialogue and in-depth research.

In 2011, New Jersey saw more than 8,600 admissions to state-licensed or certified substance abuse treatment programs due to the abuse of prescription painkillers, an increase of more than 200 percent over the previous five years and close to a 700-percent increase since the start of the decade.

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