Local pharmacists see spike in prescription fraud

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PLEASANT GARDEN, N.C. -- Pleasant Garden Drug Store is seeing a spike in people trying to use phony prescriptions to buy drugs.

Pharmacist Elizabeth Vieira says in the past two months, they’ve had at least four fake prescriptions brought in to the pharmacy.

“Nine times out of 10 we know immediately that it's fake if it is," Vieira said.

They’ve also dealt with patients changing the date or dosage on real prescriptions.

Vieira says often times, the phony prescriptions are being used to try to purchase opioids.

"Two of the cases were codeine cough syrup,” the pharmacist said.

Nearly half of their prescriptions are still in written form.

"I don't even know if we can stay ahead of the problem,” she said.

Vieira says once they call the doctor and things don't check out, they call police.

"Usually we'll kind of stall here and get the cops here before the person leaves with the prescription," she said.

Dr. Courtney Bradley, with High Point University, says pharmacists are seeing the spike with the growth of opioid abuse.

"We're seeing a rise both in this area and nationally," said Bradley, an associate professor of clinical sciences.

Bradley says there’s one major red flag all pharmacists should check for.

"We're looking for things that may be high quantities or maybe a high dosage," she said.

"They act a little fidgety or they talk too much or say they want to pay cash for it," Vieira said.

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