California Department of Justice, Local Agencies Host Symposium on Prescription Drug Diversion

Two-Day Summit to Discuss Solutions to Deadly Overdoses

Wednesday, May 26, 2004
Contact: (415) 703-5837, agpressoffice@doj.ca.gov

(SAN LUIS OBISPO) – The San Luis Obispo County Narcotic Task Force (SLOCNTF), in conjunction with the California Narcotic Officers' Association (CNOA), today kicks off a two-day symposium on Pharmaceutical Drug Diversion.

An alarming number of deadly overdoses of prescription pain killers in the Central Coast region in part prompted the symposium. SLOCNTF agents also cite an increase in investigations involving pharmaceuticals, which some dealers prefer because prescription drugs command higher prices and are easier to hide.

"The misuse, abuse and addiction to pharmaceutical drugs is truly a hidden epidemic in the Central Coast region," said SLOCNTF Commander Tyler Burtis of the California Department of Justice. "The goal of the symposium is to bring together the leading experts in the field from a variety of disciplines to offer possible solutions to this increasing problem."

Today's segment of the symposium features remarks and presentations from representatives of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies who are joining with prosecutors, pharmacists, medical doctors, members of regulatory boards and treatment specialists to address problems associated with the diversion of highly potent and addictive prescription drugs.

Subjects covered will include a review of the national problem of prescription drug diversion, Medi-Cal fraud and pharmaceutical diversion, Internet drug sales and the state's triplicate program, which tracks the prescription of controlled pharmaceuticals.

Friday's agenda, geared toward working law enforcement officers and prosecutors, includes a general overview of pharmaceutical diversion, prescription fraud, major investigations of prescription pain killers and resources for officers and prosecutors investigating these crimes.

Among the speakers expected are San Luis Obispo District Attorney Gerald Shea and Mike Kennedy, CNOA president. Others include representatives of California Attorney General Bill Lockyer, U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein, the National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators (NADDI), National Drug Intelligence Center (NDIC), California Medical Board, California State Board of Pharmacy and the Ventura County Combined Agency Team (VCAT).

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