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July 27, 2011

Reducing Opioid Abuse and Diversion

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliation: Department of Preventive Medicine and Community Health, New Jersey Medical School of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, Newark (smarcus@njpies.org).

JAMA. 2011;306(4):381-383. doi:10.1001/jama.2011.1041

To the Editor: Theft of prescription medication is a well-established mechanism for obtaining drugs for abuse. “Pharming,” obtaining prescription medications from unlocked medicine cabinets, has been reported in the lay literature for many years.1 If such medications were locked up, they could not be so easily obtained.

Lockable medicine cabinets can also afford an extra level of protection for children who accidentally ingest medications and become poisoned from such an exposure. There are currently more deaths from unintentional drug overdoses than fires. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2007 there were almost 10 times as many deaths from unintentional poisonings than fires: 29 846 vs 3375.2