Enforcement Strategies

In order for laws and regulations to be effective, they must be enforced. Police officers and law enforcement personnel therefore are key stakeholders and should be partners in prevention efforts. This means involving law enforcement on community advisory boards, health task forces, or coalitions to actively engage them in the work. While police are vital, they are not the only ones who can work on enforcement in the community. Local practitioners, school personnel, youth, and parents can work with law enforcement to:

  • Shut down “pill mills.” These initiatives can deter aberrant prescribing practices and increase the likelihood that pain clinics will appropriately prescribe prescription drugs to patients. Burgeoning research suggests they can reduce overdose rates.
  • Educate and train law enforcement personnel on supply and harm reduction strategies. Law enforcement may need current information and up-to-date training on the nascent policies and procedures surrounding recognizing clandestine pill mills and responding properly to drug overdoses. They can use this information to focus their work; thus, potentially reducing the supply of controlled substances in the community, and saving lives by providing appropriate antidotes when encountering overdoses on the job.
  • Implement and sustain a tip and reward program. These programs encourage individuals to anonymously report to law enforcement information about prescription drug diversion happening in the community. Law enforcement can then act on this information; thereby potentially lessening the amount of controlled substances available in the community. 

Enforcement strategies, summarized here, include the following: