By David Madden

By David Madden

NEW JERSEY (CBS) — Prescription drug abuse is becoming a major problem in this country, and New Jersey is turning to health care professionals to help them control it.

The new Prescription Monitoring Program went into effect last fall and will be fully operational by spring. The idea? Make sure people getting potent painkillers really need them.

“A single pharmacy may be prescribing an unusual amount of a certain pain medication, or we might see a patient going to multiple pharmacies with prescriptions from multiple different doctors seeking the same pain medication,” explains Attorney General Jeffrey Chisea.

In some areas, drugs like oxycodone are becoming more popular on the street than cocaine or heroin. The program requires some 2000 pharmacists to report on sales of pain killers and human growth hormone every 15 days, with the secure data available to police, doctors and pharmacists.

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