Created: Tue, 03 Sep 2013 01:20:00 EST
Updated: Tue, 03 Sep 2013 01:22:56 EST
ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) -- Assisted living centers in North Carolina are trying to stop pills meant for residents from being stolen.
The State Bureau of Investigation told the Citizen-Times of Asheville that it has 11 agents that focus on investigating doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other health care workers that divert prescription drugs from patients.
The SBI estimates 20 percent of the cases worked by its field agents involve prescription drugs, with painkillers the most frequently stolen medicine.
Asheville and Buncombe County have combined to create a unit to investigate drug diversion cases. Agent Ken Razza said he investigated 20 cases in the first seven month of 2013, compared to 17 cases all of last year. He said the actual number of incidents is likely much higher.