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New law aims at keeping prescription drugs off the streets

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Prescription drugs have become a threat. That’s the message from law enforcement officers today. They came together to talk about a new law that could affect your next trip to the pharmacy.

Harold King has been a pharmacist for more than 20 years. Over the years he has denied prescriptions to people who have a history of pharmacy shopping.

“Once you start checking, it is very amazing what you see,” King said.

During a news conference at the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office Thursday, the SBI said there’s been a 400-percent increase in prescription drug investigations in the past five years. That’s why there’s a new state law that mandates pharmacists must check IDs before handing over certain controlled substances, including prescription drugs like hydrocodone, oxycodone, even adderall.

“The diversion of prescription narcotics and the illegal use of prescription narcotics is the number one drug problem in America now,” SBI Special Agent in Charge Donnie Varnell said. “More than cocaine, more than heroin, more than marijuana.”

Law enforcement officers say last year, 1,000 people across the state died from prescription drug overdoses.

District Attorney Ben David hopes this new law will limit the availability of these drugs being sold illegally.

“What we’re trying to make sure is that the supply is only getting to people who have a doctor’s prescription,” David said. “We don’t want drug dealers using our pharmacies as the next marketplace.”

Pharmacists must keep these records for three years, so they will be available in case someone is investigated for doctor shopping.

The types of identification you can use include a driver license, a North Carolina issued ID card, a passport or military ID.

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