New NC state law took effect March 1
By SCOTT MCKIE B.P.
ONE FEATHER STAFF
A new state law, that took effect Thursday, March 1, requires photo identification for filling and picking up certain prescriptions. The law applies to all drugs classified by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) as Schedule II and certain Schedule III drugs.
“Powerful prescription drugs can be deadly when misused, and this law will help us fight the growing problem of prescription drug abuse,” said North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper.
The Cherokee Indian Hospital pharmacy is also in compliance with this new law and will now require photo identification for many medications. “Examples of controlled medications include, but are not limited to: oxycodone/acetaminophen, morphine, hydrocodone/acetaminophen, zolpidem, diazepam, alprazolam, tramadol, phentermine and pregabalin,” according to information from the Hospital.
“The Cherokee community reached out to me earlier this year to start checking identifications when picking up controlled substances,” said Elizabeth L. Helm, Cherokee Indian Hospital Pharmacy. “When I researched this, I found that North Carolina had already passed a new statute requiring this to start on March 1, 2012. So, in an effort to reduce prescription drug diversion and increase accountability, we are now implementing this new process.”
Helm added, “As of March 1, 2012, the new process has went very smoothly and most patients expressed understanding and were pleased that this issue was being addressed.”
The Hospital related it will take the following forms of current ID: driver’s license, special ID card from the NCDMV, passport, military ID, or a tribal ID with photo.
“Preliminary data from the N.C. Division of Public Health indicates that approximately 1,000 people died from prescription drug overdoses in North Carolina last year,” according to information from the N.C. Department of Justice. “The State Bureau of Investigation has seen a 400 percent increase in prescription drug related cases over a five-year period.”
For the last several years, the Cherokee Indian Police Department has participated in Operation Medicine Drop, a collaborative program of Safe Kids North Carolina, the DEA, the SBI and local law enforcement agencies statewide whereby citizens can turn in their old prescription medicines for proper disposal.
This year, the CIPD is planning four Operation Medicine Drop events including:
– Tsali Manor, Thursday, March 22 from 10am – 2pm
– Food Lion Shopping Center, Saturday, March 22 from 10am – 2pm
– Snowbird Recreation Center, Saturday, March 22 from 10am – 2pm
– Cherokee County Community Building, Saturday, March 24 from 10am – 2pm
According to the NCDOJ, “More than eight million dosage units were collected at drug take back events in 2011.”
The CIPD told the One Feather last year that it collected more than 60,000 dosages at its 2011 Operation Medicine Drop event. The department also reported that it collected more than 20,000 dosages in its inaugural event in 2010.