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North Carolina prescription drug theft increases

Prescription drug crimes come in a variety of packages. Many prescription drug crimes are the result of dishonest doctors who fill out prescriptions when there is no medical need. Other times, single patients are given more pills than they require, and sell the extras. Pharmacy and hospital employees are responsible for some of the pill theft as well. According to the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, however, pill theft among assisted living home employees is on the rise.

Perhaps it should come as no surprise that some assisted living home employees are responsible for the prescription drug crimes. After all, a great deal of powerful medicine is sent through the clinics each day, and it is relatively easy for employees to skim pills off the top. But the SBI takes these crimes very seriously, and a guilty verdict could mean a heavy sentence for all parties responsible.

According to SBI authorities, the agency currently has 11 agents whose sole focus is the investigation of doctors, nurses and other health care professionals who are suspected of drug diversion. One agent said he had investigated 20 such cases by July 2013, compared to just 17 cases all of last year.

Approximately 20 percent of all drug cases investigated by the SBI are related to prescription drugs. Painkillers are by far the most frequently stolen drug; pharmaceuticals like Oxycontin and Vicodin are common targets.

In response to the increase in cases, the State Bureau of Investigations has formed a special unit designed to target those who divert prescription drugs from their intended users.

Source:  WCNC.com, "Pill thefts in North Carolina assisted living homes increase" No Author Given, Sep. 01, 2013

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