SC Plans New Crackdown On Prescription Drugs - WSPA.com

SC Plans New Crackdown On Prescription Drugs

Posted: Updated:
COLUMBIA, S.C. -

Several months after the SC Inspector General declared an "epidemic" of prescription drug abuse in South Carolina, the Department of Health and Environmental Control announced a new partnership with state investigators that Director Catherine Templeton said would help crack down on the problem.

"Today is a criminal attack on pill mills," Templeton said in a news conference at SLED headquarters in Columbia.

The D-HEC plan would use a state program called the pharmaceutical monitoring program, PMP,  to "proactively assist the efforts of law enforcement across the state by providing targeted lists of individuals engaged in suspicious activity," according to a DHEC press statement.

7 On Your Side began investigating "pill mills" in January, identifying the largest painkiller prescribers through the state's Medicaid system.

After that report, one of the doctors profiled in the story pleaded guilty to "conspiracy to distribute oxycodone".

 Further investigation revealed many of those so-called "pill mills" may operate in plain sight.

"It has been the problem in the past. We know those names like you do you probably got them from us," said Union County Sheriff David Taylor when asked if his department knew the names of pill mill doctors.

Using the Freedom of Information Act, 7 On Your Side got emails from the Inspector Generals office related to his report on prescription drugs.  The emails named several doctors.  One, from investigator Carlton Banks, said   "overprescribing doctors are known to law enforcement".  The same emails later name a doctor who was identified as "operating a pill mill". 

Meanwhile DHEC had been monitoring prescribers and pill seekers all along.

"D-HEC  has long gathered information on all controlled substance prescriptions in the state and we've always made that information available to doctors and law enforcement," Templeton said.

The Inspector General's emails show access to PMP may have stalled investigations in the past.

Banks wrote, "access to (pmp) was the first issue mentioned by investigators."

In one case involving suspected hydrocodone abuse he says Union County deputies told him "DHEC refused to release PMP information associated with the case even if a subpoena was provided."

A SLED investigator noted that his office has not had problems getting PMP information.

PMP investigations may also be limited because South Carolina doctors are not required to use the system at all.   

The DHEC announcement will also change the way prescription data is gathered.  Pharmacists do have to participate in PMP and starting January 1st, they will start uploading that information every 24 hours instead of every 30 days as they did before.


Related :

Prescription for Pain : How do dangerous drugs end up on the streets?

Inspector General Finds Epidemic of Prescription Drug Abuse

  • Top StoriesTop StoriesMore>>

  • Reward Offered For Greer Firearms Theft

    Reward Offered For Greer Firearms Theft

    Thursday, August 28 2014 7:01 PM EDT2014-08-28 23:01:09 GMT
    The ATF is joining other organizations in offering a reward to help solve a firearms theft in Greer in July. Photo Courtesy Greer PDThe ATF is joining other organizations in offering a reward to help solve a firearms theft in Greer in July. Photo Courtesy Greer PD

    The ATF is joining other organizations in offering a reward to help solve a firearms theft in Greer in July.

    The ATF is joining other organizations in offering a reward to help solve a firearms theft in Greer in July.

  • Attempted Murder Charge For Driver In Clinton Crash

    Attempted Murder Charge For Driver In Clinton Crash

    Thursday, August 28 2014 6:11 PM EDT2014-08-28 22:11:26 GMT
    Alton PaytonAlton Payton

    Clinton Public Safety has filed an attempted murder charge against the driver of a car that plowed into Bailey Manor Wednesday afternoon. Public Safety Director Robin Morse says Alton Payton, 84, will also be charged with one count of malicious damage to real property.

    Clinton Public Safety has filed an attempted murder charge against the driver of a car that plowed into Bailey Manor Wednesday afternoon. Public Safety Director Robin Morse says Alton Payton, 84, will also be charged with one count of malicious damage to real property.

  • Jackson St. Fire In Anderson Co. Being Treated as Suspicious

    Jackson St. Fire In Anderson Co. Being Treated as Suspicious

    Thursday, August 28 2014 5:38 PM EDT2014-08-28 21:38:32 GMT
     Centerville Fire Chief Greg Dunn says the fire is being treated as suspicious and is under investigation.
     Centerville Fire Chief Greg Dunn says the fire is being treated as suspicious and is under investigation.
Powered by WorldNow

250 International Dr.
Spartanburg, S.C. 29303

Telephone: 864.576.7777
Fax: 864.587.5430
Email: webmaster@wspa.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.