Local News

Personal Information Made Public at Local Dump Site

Posted June 5, 1997 12:00 a.m. EDT

— A WRAL viewer stumbled onto what he thought was just a trash dump in the woods near Wake Forest. A closer look revealed there was much more to it. Now pharmacists and several Wake County sheriff's deputies are concerned about the strange pile of trash.

It's just a little spot off N.C. 98 near Wake Forest. But a closer look might surprise you. It's pharmaceutical trash: empty vials of everything from antihistamines to Valium. There's little evidence that the vial contained any drugs. But personal patient information is everywhere.

Most of the prescriptions came from a Wake Forest Revco drug store. The find has many customers, including Hattie Canady, concerned. Canady says a little information can go a long way, especially when it comes to personal information such as a social security number.

Pharmacist Bryan Blalock says he's surprised and alarmed that so much waste from his store ended up in the woods. Normally, all medical waste is disposed of in a special dumpster that is picked up once a week.

A closer look revealed the dumpster had many of the same items found in the woods. Back in the woods, Wake County Sheriff's deputies arrived to investigate. They know what someone could do with personal information, such as transferring a prescription to another store.

The sheriff's department wants to know who put all the prescription trash in the woods. Pharmacy customers are just wondering who knows their personal medical information.

The story may sound familiar. A few weeks ago, similar troubles were reported in the Wilson area. Sheriff's deputies say they think someone is going through the trash, desperately looking for an instant high.