The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control says it will help out law enforcement by reporting unusual prescription drug activity within a 24 hour period.
Pharmacies currently report prescription drug activity monthly. As part of a new attempt to target abusers, traffickers and doctors who are described as “pill mills” by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency.
At the local level, Union County Sheriff David Taylor says he welcomes the extra help
“It will help us track it like we track ephedrine now, that is used to make meth. By being able to do that on a daily basis, we have been able to crack down on a number of drug labs,” said Taylor.
Taylor says it will help him track the activities of doctors do not have to report to the state’s online Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP), yet are churning out prescriptions for narcotics that can be abused or sold. Some are also duplicated and filled at pharmacies around the state.
“We have people driving from Anderson to Union; that’s just not logical,” Taylor told South Carolina Radio Network. “We don’t have any major hospital facility, we don’t have a Spartanburg Regional or a Greenville Hospital. Common sense tell you, why are you going to drive an hour and fifteen minutes to see a general practitioner.”
A new DHEC drug control officer will also be assigned exclusively to help SLED and the county sheriffs make cases statewide.
State Senator Gerald Malloy (D-Darlington) authored the state’s latest omnibus crime law and describes this action as an “improvement on the program.”
“It doesn’t require a legislative fix, just requires a cooperative and collaborative effort between DHEC, state law enforcement, obviously some cooperation from the pharmacists, and if you are going to have the doctors who are not going to be reporting, they have a liability,” said Malloy.
“They can lose their careers,” added Taylor.