State health officials want to know if low use of a prescription drug database is leading to more deaths in North Carolina.
A majority of state pharmacists and doctors are not checking a drug registry that every pharmacy must report to. Some lawmakers say that can enable some people to abuse highly addictive drugs. Last year, more than one thousand North Carolinians died of pharmaceutical overdoses. William Bronson runs the database for the state Department of Health and Human Services. He says it may not be fair to blame pharmacists for not monitoring their patients' drugs.
William Bronson: In fact some of the patients that are dying are patients that are legitimately taking medications for a legitimate medical reason. They're just taking them in the wrong way.
DHHS has commissioned a study from UNC that will hopes to find out why pharmacists aren't using the database. Those results are expected by the end of the year.