Computerized Drugstores

The Drug Enforcement Administration has nabbed a couple dozen pharmacists and doctors, for illegal drug distribution as part of a pilot project testing the use of compulers for drugslore recordkeeping. Project DART (DAWN/ARCOS Registrant Targeting) is composed of a network of computer terminals in pharmacies in the Watts district of Los Angeles that feeddala to a central computer in the Chades R, Drew School of Medicine in Los Angeles. DEA agents can thus gel a prinl-oul of all prescriptions issued for Schedule in, IV and V medications written wiiliin a given period. Any doctor, druggist or customer who has dealt in suspicious quantities of any such substance can then be investigated by the agency^ ARCOS (Automated Records and Consummated Otders) bureau. For news of the street trade in boodeg prescription drugs, the DEA currently relies 011 lips from 1,300 hospitals, drug crisis centers and medical examiners participating in yel another alphabet-soup bureau, Project DAWN [Drug Abuse i Warning Network). j

The DEA is encouraging llie adoption of computer systems by pharmacies throughout the country, but has received mixed reactions from stale pharmacy boards. Six competing computer systems were displayed last June at the annual convention of the National Association ] of Boards of Pharmacy at Lake Buena ] Vista, Florida. These systems lypically | respond lo a refill order with a read-out of the patients and physician's names, llie I patientls previous prescriptions, allergy J and drug interaction warnings and llie jj prescription label in triplicate. Ken Dur- j rin, director of the DEA's Compliance i Investigation Division, said that any sys- 5 tem he approved would also have to 1 prevent unauthorized prescriptions from j being entered under the forged initials of "j the pharmacist.. }

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