North Carolina Department of Justiceskip to main content
North Carolina Department of Justice
North Carolina Department of Justice
Submit this request

Prescription Drug Abuse

Prescription drug pill bottles sit on a table while a man looks at themPrescription drug abuse is on the rise in North Carolina and across the country.  Prescription drugs such as painkillers can be highly addictive and every bit as dangerous as street drugs.

When abused or misused, prescription drugs can even be deadly. Fatal drug overdoses are now the primary cause of death due to unintentional injury in the U.S., exceeding even motor vehicle deaths, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. According to data from the N.C. Division of Public Health, more than 1,000 now die from prescription drug overdose each year.

Investigating Drug Theft and Fraud
State Bureau of Investigation agents work to investigate doctors and pharmacists who divert prescription drugs from lawful use, prescription drug forgery rings, and overdose deaths. The SBI's Diversion and Environmental Crimes Unit has seen a 400 percent increase in prescription drug related cases over a five year period. 

To report prescription drug crime, contact local law enforcement or email the SBI Operations Center or call (800) 334-3000.  Call 911 to report prescription drug abuse emergencies or overdoses.

Preventing Drug Abuse
To help stop prescription drugs from falling into the wrong hands, the Attorney General and the SBI help sponsor prescription drug take back events across the state during Operation Medicine Drop.

Educating Young People
Prescription drugs are the second most abused drug among young people ages 12-17.  According to the National Center on Addiction and Drug Use at Columbia University, nearly nine million U.S. teens report that they can get prescription drugs illicitly within one day and 5 million say that they can get them within one hour.

Attorney General Cooper sponsors a student video competition to help educate North Carolina teens about the dangers of prescription drug abuse.