Shelby doctor, 20 others arrested in prescription drug investiga - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

Shelby doctor, 20 others arrested in prescription drug investigation

SHELBY, NC (WBTV) -

Twenty-one people, including a Shelby doctor, were arrested on prescription drug charges after an investigation that lasted over a year.

In July 2012, Cleveland County Sheriff's Office received a federally funded grant focused on combating the drastic increase in prescription medication fraud, sales, and use in Cleveland County.

Shortly after announcing the program the Sheriff's Office started to receive complaints about local doctors. One of those complaints was on Dr. Steven Elliott Skorman of Carolina Foot and Ankle.

The Sheriff's Office initiated an investigation into the prescribing practices of Dr. Skorman. Investigators said that Skorman "was prescribing very strong narcotics in excessive dosages to people with little or no need for the drugs."

On Thursday, August 21, investigators executed a search warrant at Carolina Foot and Ankle. During the search warrant, Skorman was arrested on outstanding felony warrants.

In addition to Skorman, 28 other people were targeted for prescription medication crimes, including selling controlled substances, trafficking in medications that contain opium, and delivery of controlled substances to inmates.

As of Thursday, 21 people had been arrested, with arrest warrants still outstanding for another eight people.

During the operation, investigators say a total of 29 people were charged with 88 felonies and 20 misdemeanors for a total of 108 charges.

"Prescription drug abuse and misuse has become an epidemic in Cleveland County as throughout the State of North Carolina. Combating this problem takes more than law enforcement, it takes everyone who takes, dispenses, and prescribes these medicines," Sheriff Norman said.

He continued, "We will continue our efforts not only with the enforcement part but the preventive part which is educating the public about this problem and asking for their help. The Sheriff's Office has purchased prescription drug drop off boxes and they are located throughout the county and I would encourage everyone to dispose of their medicines properly."

Copyright 2014 WBTV. All rights reserved.

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