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Illegal prescription drug use on the rise

READ MORE: Illegal prescription drug use on the rise
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Local law enforcement agents say prescription drug trafficking is becoming an epidemic. Nearly 75 percent of all drug cases in Brunswick County involve prescription medication. Brunswick drug agents say the trafficking, or diversion of these drugs, is topping that of heroin and cocaine. "When it's used inappropriately or not prescribed to that person it's actually illegal," said Brunswick County Sheriff John Ingram. One undercover drug agent in Brunswick County who told us the prescription drug trafficking epidemic can be compared to the crack epidemic of the 80’s. People are getting pills two different ways, drug dealers are forging "scripts" and then turning the pills into a powder or liquid and selling them. Other drug dealers are simply stealing medications from the person they were prescribed for. “They're not candy, and they have good and bad effects depending on the person,” said pharmacist Hal King. Prescription drug trafficking is an issue in neighboring Columbus County as well. Sheriff Chris Batten says it's a growing problem. "In Columbus County we are seeing prescription drug usage and abuse surpassing the cocaine usage." If convicted, prescription drug dealers can be charged like a heroin dealer and can face up to 200 months in prison.

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