Questions raised after string of prescription drug thefts at pharmacies, hospital in Grand Strand – WMBF

HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) – Questions are being raised after four people tasked with handling prescription drugs have been arrested for allegedly stealing pills and medications in Horry County.
The four separate arrests have happened in less than a week in the Conway and Little River areas. Authorities said each of those workers stole medications while either working at a pharmacy or hospital.
In one case, a registered nurse was accused of stealing morphine from Conway Medical Center. In another, warrants from the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control show a pharmacist at a CVS in Little River stole multiple prescription drugs.
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Tiffany Combs, who is a pharmacist at Nye’s Pharmacy, where one of the arrests happened, said becoming a pharmacy means a lot of hard work.
“It’s years of school. It’s a lot of hard work and dedication. We’re the most accessible profession I believe,” said Combs.
She added that the reputation of a pharmacist means everything because so many trust them with their medications.
“It’s huge. We want to keep our community safe,” Combs said.
WMBF News reached out to DHEC to get more details about the cases. A representative from DHEC said officers cannot comment on this matter at this time.
But 15th Circuit Solicitor Jimmy Richardson shed some light on why these arrests may be happening now.
He said it may feel like a lot of arrests in such a short period of time to some people. But he added it’s hard to know for sure if these cases are part of a larger DHEC operation that’s targeting people suspected of stealing patients’ medication.
“If you’ve got an officer that’s really worth their weight and salt, once they get focused on a certain area, they’ll start looking and that may uncover quite a bit,” Richardson explained.
Richardson added that in many cases employees stealing drugs behind the counter are dealing with an addiction.
“Most of what we see is them feeding that addiction,” Richardson said. “I’m guessing there have been times when people would sell it to try and make money. But the overwhelming amount of times it’s to feed some sort of an addiction.”
Richardson said his office sees way more arrests dealing with illegal drugs being sold on the streets compared to pharmacists stealing pills or medications from the workplace.
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