Health Team

New state law requires photo ID to fill some prescriptions

Posted February 29, 2012 6:08 p.m. EST
Updated February 29, 2012 6:56 p.m. EST

— A state law going into effect Thursday requires pharmacies to check photo identification before filling prescriptions for certain drugs, including Oxycontin, morphine, methadone, fentanyl and Vicodin.

“Powerful prescription drugs can be deadly when misused, and this law will help us fight the growing problem of prescription drug abuse,” Attorney General Roy Cooper said in a statement Wednesday. 

The law, which applies to schedule 2 and 3 drugs, is aimed at cutting down prescription drug fraud and abuse. 

"Most people get these because they have a need for them - a lot of pain, surgery," said Mike James, a pharmacist at Person Street Pharmacy. "Unfortunately, these are the same drugs that we see wind up on the street for sale."

One of the ways some people have fooled the system has been through doctor shopping or going to see multiple doctors and going to multiple pharmacies. With photo identification on file, the State Bureau of Investigation can track people who might be abusing the system. 

Pharmacists realize that some people might not have a photo ID, so there are allowances. 

"It can be a friend. It can be a relative that's coming to pick up their medication, as long as that person has valid ID," James said. 

Cooper said he is looking at other possible changes to the law to fight prescription drug abuse, including stronger penalties for tampering with prescription drugs and obtaining prescriptions illegally.