WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — WWAY has learned new details about why federal agents closed a Bladen County drugstore for several hours Thursday morning.
Court documents show the number of opioids sold at some Bladen County pharmacies, including Anderson’s Discount Drugs, was enough for agents to want to find out more.
An affidavit the Drug Enforcement Administration filed in federal court says Anderson’s sold nearly 318,000 oxycodone pills in just the first five months of this year after selling 365,000 in 2017. The county has about 34,000 residents.
The DEA says Anderson’s sells twice as much oxycodone as a pair of pharmacies less than a mile away and that a source told investigators Anderson’s lets customers text photos of their prescriptions. That’s why agents wanted to do an administrative inspection of the pharmacy Thursday to “protect public health and safety.”
A woman who told WWAY she is the girlfriend of owner Gene Anderson said the pharmacy does everything the way it is supposed to and by noon Thursday, it was back open and serving customers.
At Anderson’s and other drug stores, pharmacists say they are right in the middle of the opioid crisis.
Denise Marrotta, a pharmacist at Rocky Point Pavilion Pharmacy, says there are steps pharmacists can take to help protect customers. She says she has seen the opioid problem grow over her 32 years in the business.
“We can always call the doctor to make sure it was written from that office and verify if it’s a legal prescription,” Marrotta said. “We also have access to the North Carolina State Controlled Substance Monitoring System, which tracks every prescription filled in the state.”
Marrotta says her pharmacy has also started a patient drop-off system for unused and older drugs as a big step to stop drug abuse.
Marrotta says she does her best to educate her patients when they pick up prescriptions. She says sometimes they are not even aware what they are prescribed is an opioid.