South Carolina is being asked to link its prescription drug database system to that of other states.
Also known as SCRIPTS, the South Carolina Reporting and Identification Tracking System keeps track of controlled prescription drugs such as OxyContin, Valium, Percocet or Vicodin.
Adam Myrick, DHEC spokesman:
This system really is another tool in our tool box to combat prescription drug abuse, or any kind of fraud that might be related to prescriptions: “doctor shopping,” anybody diverting drugs in any way.
Thirty-four states operate databases that monitor prescription drug abuse. Myrick says South Carolina’s system has helped in putting together a good working relationship with pharmacists as well as the medical community.
We feel very confident in the system. We have had great working relationships. It’s helped us form great working relationships with the prescribers in that medical community and then also the pharmacists out there as well. We feel like it’s just another tool in the tool kit that might help us fight prescription abuse and any kind of fraud that might be related to it.
Myrick says the system in place is both efficient and effective.
We have a state system that’s been in place since February of 2008. It’s up and operational, has the 20 million plus dispensing records, and we’ve got 3,100 users. In fact, our percentage of those out there who could be tapped into the system and those who are is actually above the national average.
Why DHEC when it comes to handling drug abuse?
Myrick says that back in the early 70’s the general assembly split up drug-related law enforcement issues giving SLED the responsibility to handle the street drugs while DHEC is responsible for handling prescription drugs and the law enforcement matters and concerns related to them. “So that’s what our involvement and what our role is. It’s just another tool in the tool belt that we use to fight fraud when it comes to prescriptions and prescription drug abuse.”
Myrick explains all of DHEC agents are both commissioned law enforcement agents and registered pharmacists.
They have both sides, they have both ingredients there, so to speak, to take a look at things and know exactly what they’re seeing and to follow through on their investigations with a very unique perspective from both sides of the issue.
By linking their databases, prescription drug abuse can be tracked across state lines. Organizers are hoping state legislatures will consider the proposed interstate agreement next year.