More people are overdosing on prescription pills than heroin, according to the DA.
NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WECT) – More than 54,000 boxes of
pseudoephedrine stayed on pharmacy shelves this year, according to information
from the National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators. The non-profit
credits the statewide monitoring system that limits people from buying too much
of the substance, which can be used in the making of crystal meth.
Harold King, owner of King's Pharmacy and Compounding Lab,
said while the numbers may reflect a successful system, he has not had to flag
any of his customers.
"I just don't see much of an interest for pseudoephedrine,"
The self-employed pharmacist said he's logged more time on a
different database. King checks the I.D. of every customer who walks in with a
prescription, so he can reference it to a registration shared with other
pharmacists. It's meant to monitor anyone who could potentially buy drugs with
a plan to sell or abuse them.
"We're kind of forced into a law enforcement role," said King.
While the business owner might feel more like an officer or a
deputy, state prosecutors warn about the seriousness of prescription drug
abuse. District Attorney Ben David said pills are the second-most abused drug
for 12-17 year olds in North Carolina.
"It is becoming a gateway drug to some of the hardest drugs on the
street and, especially in our community, heroin," David said.
Though David said pills could lead to heroin, that does not make
them any less dangerous. More people in North Carolina are overdosing on
prescription pills than heroin and cocaine, according to the DA.
Only about 30% of doctors are signed up for the prescription
registry, but it's mandatory for pharmacists. It might mean more work with no
extra pay, but King said it's rewarding, nonetheless.
"There's an obligation to work it
into the workflow and the good that comes out of it is certainly
immeasurable." King said.