Drug agents fighting high-tech fake prescriptions

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OKLAHOMA CITY -- The pharmacist at Windsor Park Pharmacy had a feeling the prescription in his hand was a fake.

He had seen Malanei Matias in his office before, filling prescriptions for oxycodone. But the prescriptions came from different doctors, none of whom were local.

The pharmacist called the doctor, and upon confirming it was a fake, called police, who arrested Matias in front of her 8-year-old son as he cried.  According to the police report, the officer consoled the child before putting him in the back of his car with his mother.

The police report says it was the fifth fake prescription received at Windsor Park in the last week and a half, which is easy for the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics to believe.

"In the last few years, we've really seen an epidemic of prescription drug abuse nationwide, including here in Oklahoma," said Mark Woodward, a spokesman for the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics. "And with that, there's a corresponding amount of prescription fraud.

"Ten or 15 years ago, you may have seen somebody trying to use an ink pen to maybe erase or wash out a prescription," Woodward said. "But in today's age of technology, there's now technology available, literally on the internet or Craig's List, that you can buy that would rival anything you would find in a state driver's license facility and you can have it right there in your own apartment."

Woodward showed NewsChannel 4 photos of high-tech equipment used for prescription forgery, noting many of them can produce watermarks and other typical symbols of authenticity.

"We do find that people who are involved in prescription fraud with duplicators and scanners who can make fake IDs, as well as fake prescriptions, that you would see out on the streets," Woodward said. "And if you don't have a trained eye, you really couldn't tell the difference."



Woodward says the people who forge prescriptions typically engage in other crimes as well, like theft.

Malanei Matias's record supports that trend.  Her rap sheet features a long list of charges dating back to 2002, including arrests for possession of a controlled dangerous substance, burglary and stealing credit cards.

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