How to Increase the Odds of Filling your Opioid Rx

10 ways to increase the odds of filling your narcotic prescription at a pharmacy – Oct 2017 – written from a pharmacy tech’s point-of-view

Filling a schedule II (C-II) or narcotic prescription at a retail pharmacy can be a daunting task nowadays. It doesn’t matter what kind of medicine – Narcotic pain relievers, Adderall, Vyvanse for the kids or Patches of any type.

Legitimate patients are paying the price of a society that has gone wide with the abuse and misuse of opioid narcotic pain relievers.

This problem has prompted government agencies to respond

Unfortunately, the response has been punitive for Pharmacies. 

DEA takes a punitive approach to the drugstores which are at the front line of this epidemic that needs education.

Consequently, Pharmacists are turning down schedule II prescriptions that don’t look familiar to them.

Since most pain patients are forced to fill their prescriptions at only one pharmacy, this works in our favor because our prescriptions become familiar to the staff.

Furthermore, regulatory enforcement among Pharmacies vary.

for legitimate users out there (that is assuming you don’t have a fake prescription), here are ten ways to increase the chance of having a Retail Pharmacy fill your schedule II or narcotic prescription

  1. Electronic Prescriptions

Have your doctor electronically send the order over to your pharmacy. According to the DEA, “a practitioner will be able to issue electronic controlled substance prescriptions only when the electronic prescription or EHR application the practitioner is using complies with DEA’s requirements.”

Pharmacies are very likely to accept these orders because they have met standards set by the DEA.

  1. Medical use of the narcotic prescription

Increase the chance of having your prescription filled by having the prescriber write the medical use of the narcotic prescription.

It is the duty of the Pharmacist to determine that the prescription is for a legitimate medical purpose.

  1. Drop it off upon leaving the doctor’s office

Always take your prescription to the pharmacy upon leaving the doctor’s office even if filling it is too soon. Tell the pharmacist you know it is too early, but you just want to drop it off.

Some drugstores don’t hold controlled substance prescriptions for patients. But it can serve as an incentive for them to order it for you if they don’t have it in stock.

  1. Cut off the friendliness

Skip the “where are you from?” questions or trying to be overly friendly. We know that if you are in pain, the last thing you want to do is be friendly.

Too much chatter means you are high on something or trying to hide something or divert attention.

  1. Stop calling around

Please, stop calling different pharmacies to see who has your controlled substance prescription is stock.

There are many reasons why they should not tell you their stock level. High on this list is Robbery. Usually, a robber will call to make sure you have a drug in stock before striking.

Another reason is that it cuts out the “We don’t have it in stock” excuse to deny filling your prescription for one reason or another.

It is easier to tell you we don’t have it in stock and have you move on to another pharmacy than have you shout at us if we say we suspect your prescription is fake, not for a legitimate medical use or that we have to call the doctor for verification.

  1. Do not alter anything

If the doctor made a mistake with the date, name or something else, take it back or let the pharmacist deal with it. But I recommend you take the prescription back to the doctor’s office because the pharmacist is going to send you back anyway.

If you alter anything, you are not only going to get in trouble with the pharmacy but also with the doctor and the law. You cannot modify a schedule II prescription writing by a prescriber.

  1. Stay away from the weekends

Do not wait till Friday, Saturday or Sunday before filling your narcotic prescription. Except, of course, you are coming from the emergency room or urgent care clinic.

By this time, the stock is only enough to fill emergency prescriptions.

You will be getting “we don’t have the full amount in stock” rejection. And that is true. No pharmacy has total quantities on weekends.

  1. 2-day rule

You must wait two days until you run out of your prescription drug before filling the next narcotic prescription.

Pharmacies check the state’s prescription drug monitoring database before they fill scheduled drugs. If it is too early, you might start falling in the “is he/she abusing this medication?” category.

Filling prescriptions too soon are the number one reason a retail pharmacy gets shut down.

  1. Stop offering to pay cash

You may not want it on the insurance because you don’t want your insurance or job to know you are taking narcotics and so on. But, paying cash is a sure way of telling the pharmacist and regulatory authorities you are up to no good.

The same goes for all those discount drug cards. It is a major red flag even if you just left the emergency room or urgent care clinic.

Whoa – I was just going to drop my virtually useless Medicare Part D prescription coverage and use “those discount drug cards”. I’m so glad I saw this.

I’m on friendly terms with one of my pharmacy’s workers, so I’m going to ask him about this.

The stories he’s told me about people showing up with forged prescriptions have always involved multiple suspicious behaviors, like and prescriptions that are easily shown fraudulent with changed numbers or by checking the PDMP or coming in with a group of people and then all lingering in the aisles waiting for the prescription to be filled (and for the sheriff to arrive after being called when the database exposed the fraud).

You would think that, after being a customer since 1990, I could continue my consistent monthly medications using coupons. But… if it’s going to put me or my doctor on the the DEA’s radar, I’d rather not.

  1. Tell the truth

Pharmacies abhor lies. Nothing irritates the pharmacist more than someone trying to be smart.

If you are filling the prescription too soon because you doubled up on the dose or you gave some to your friend or spouse, let the pharmacist know the truth.

You are more likely to get an override than coming up with a lie such as “they fell in the sink” or “my dog ate them.”

Somehow, I doubt that telling that kind of truth would ever be beneficial, except to law enforcement.

I believe that in these times, it’s best to remain silent about any activities, words, or even thoughts that might provoke suspicion of “opioid use disorder”.


There you have it. Those are ten things to do or avoid if you want to improve the chance of a pharmacy filling your legitimate controlled substance prescription.

Put more effort on having your prescriber use electronic prescription delivery methods. It will save you and the prescriber a lot of headaches.

Thank you for taking the time to read this and please support our efforts in creating the next generation of American Retail Pharmacies called Interactive Pharmacies using the I.D.E.A.S. Framework

Other thoughts?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.