For Prescription Painkillers, ID May Soon Be Mandatory

State lawmakers see sometimes requiring identification at pharmacies as one way to clamp down on the state's prescription-drug problem. (Photo: Aaron Edwards/flickr)

State lawmakers see sometimes requiring identification at pharmacies as one way to clamp down on the state’s prescription-drug problem. (Photo: Aaron Edwards/flickr)

Tennesseans picking up prescriptions for painkillers would have to show ID, under a proposal headed toward votes Tuesday in a House committee and on the Senate floor.

Lawmakers want to stop criminals from getting someone else’s prescription drugs.  It’s not clear how often that happens, but the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation’s Tommy Farmer figures the number is in the thousands.

Farmer says while some drugstores already ask for ID, all that’s legally required is an address.  And he questions why it’s easier to pick up Oxycontin than alcohol: “You have to have and present a driver’s license to buy beer, pseudoephedrine, many times tobacco, and vote,” Farmer noted.

The bill gives lots of leeway to pharmacists, including exemptions for when they know the customer personally.  The Tennessee Pharmacists Association supports the proposal.

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