ANGELINA COUNTY, Texas (KTRE) - Nine people are facing prescription fraud charges in Polk County after a two month investigation by narcotics officers with the Polk County Sheriff's Department.
It started when a Livingston doctor's office employee found an unapproved prescription.
They discovered it in the desk of a just-fired office manager.
"We work prescription frauds aggressively here. Either if it's a doctor office or pharmacy call us," says Lieutenant Andy Lowrie with the Polk County Narcotics.
Lowrie followed up on the lead.
His work resulted in arrests of the office manager, Dana Turner, and eight others on numerous counts of prescription fraud.
Jerry Loper was one of them.
He owns pharmacies in Huntington and Livingston.
"Filled approximately 470 to 500 hyrdocodones for one month through several different doctors through his pharmacy. He filled them," says Lowrie.
Narcotics officers hope pharmacists pay closer attention to suspicious prescriptions.
"You don't want prescriptions to end up in the wrong hands. Potentially hurting children," says Buford Abeldt, owner of Abeldts Pharmacy
Abeldt does his part to prevent prescription fraud.
"Pharmacists tend to develop a 6th sense for knowing when a person shouldn't be taking a medication," says Abeldt.
He doesn't hesitate to ask for a customer's ID or calling the doctor to check on a prescription, or he may just turn a customer away.
"You have the right to turn down any point and we do that," says Abeldt.
East Texans weren't surprised about the growing abuse of illegal prescriptions.
"Feeding these people's addiction. That's how addictions start," says Juanita Clopp.
"Makes it easier for kids to get ahold of it," says Melissa Johnson.
Keeping illegal pills away from kids is why prescription fraud has become a priority for law enforcement.