How False Prescriptions are Made

Fake Prescriptions 101

I was getting ready for an upcoming Street Level Pharmaceutical Investigations course and thought of a great exercise for the students. Unfortunately, I needed about 50 prescription bottles all prescribed for various drugs that are often abused. But, how do you get that many prescription bottles?

I went online to Ebay, where I found 50 prescription pill bottles for $10. Next, I bought a package of Avery address labels. That was $6.99. The hardest part was making the label. I went online and found a prescription label from Walgreens and uploaded it to photoshop.  In photoshop, I was able to manipulate the image so that I soon had my name, address and prescription info. I made prescriptions for Soma, Vicodin, Oxy, Ambien, Xanax, Opana, and a variety of other drugs. On my prescription bottles, I put a note reading ‘For Training Purposes Only’. You can’t count on a criminal doing the same.

All I had to do next was print the labels and affix them to the bottles. All told, it took me about one hour to make 50 prescription bottles for a variety of drugs in my name. Essentially, I had 50 fake prescriptions.

Have You Been Fooled by Fake Prescriptions?

So what is the exercise that we are going to do in the class? Well, you’ll just have to go to the class to see. But, after doing this project, I asked myself, “How many times was I fooled?” You might be asking yourself the same question.

The best thing you can do is check your state’s prescription monitoring program. Not all states have one, but most do. If L.E. has access to the database, just check to see if the person was actually prescribed what they have. You can also use an app like Pill Identifier from You can check the imprint codes on the pill and ensure that the pills match what is on the label. Also, if you look carefully at my labels, you can see that they were run through an inkjet printer. But, what if I had spent a little money on a decent printer? They really are fairly cheap. You would come out with a quality product.

Before writing this article, I didn’t want this information getting out and helping the criminal element. Unfortunately, someone beat me to it. There are a ton of blog articles out there already outlining how to do this, so no secrets were given away.

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Author: Keith Graves
Keith is a retired Police Sergeant and worked in the San Francisco Bay Area for 29 years. Keith was named as California’s Narcotics Officer of the Year and is a prior winner of MADD’s California Hero Award. He has years of experience as a Narcotics Detective and a Narcotics Unit Supervisor and is a Drug Recognition Expert Instructor (IACP #3292). Keith teaches both the DRE course and the Drug Abuse Recognition Course and has taught at the Police Academy. He has developed several drug courses for the California Narcotics Officers Association, California POST and California Colleges and currently consults POST on drug investigation procedures. Keith has held other assignments besides narcotics including Training Sergeant, Patrol Sergeant, COPPS Officer, Traffic Officer, and 20 years as a SWAT Team member and Sniper Team Leader. Keith has taught thousands of officers and businesses around the world about drug use, drug trends, compliance training and drug investigations. He is recognized as an international drug expert and has testified as an expert in court proceedings on drug cases, homicide cases and rape prosecutions. Keith earned a BA in Business Management from Saint Mary's College of California and a MA in Criminal Justice. Keith is the Founder and President of Graves & Associates, a company dedicated to providing drug training to law enforcement and private industry.

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