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Drug Control

imageWelcome to the Bureau of Drug Control (BDC) Web site. The BDC enforces the South Carolina Controlled Substances Act.

Our Mission

The BDC's mission is to promote and protect public health through the enforcement of the South Carolina Controlled Substances Act. The Bureau strives to decrease the diversion of controlled substances from legal sources by effecting and maintaining a closed system of distribution.

Who We Are

The BDC was created in 1971 with enactment of the South Carolina Controlled Substances Act. The Act closely parallels the federal Controlled Substances Act of 1970.

Section 44-53-480 of the S.C. Controlled Substances Act empowers the BDC to regulate controlled substances and enforce the law using South Carolina licensed pharmacists who are also commissioned as state law enforcement officers. Currently, all of the BDC’s 16 pharmacists are also state law enforcement officers. These pharmacists have received certification training at the S.C. Criminal Justice Academy. Four administrative employees round out the BDC staff.

What We Do

Section 44-53-290 of the South Carolina Controlled Substances Act requires that every person or entity who engages in controlled substances activity in South Carolina obtain an annual registration from the BDC. They must also register with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) prior to engaging in such activity.

Each year, the BDC registers more than 20,000 individuals and entities. Registrants include hospitals, pharmacies, physicians, dentists, veterinarians, podiatrists, optometrists, researchers, analytical laboratories, and distributors. BDC registration allows these individuals and entities to possess, dispense and distribute controlled substances in South Carolina. The BDC also inspects and audits registrants and investigates losses, thefts and diversions of controlled substances from registrants.

The BDC typically conducts 750 to 850 annual site inspections of pharmacies, hospitals and practitioners. Inspectors make sure that registrants are properly maintaining records and accountability and storing controlled substances securely. Inspectors often make recommendations and offer assistance to help registrants follow proper procedures in the handling of controlled substances.

In addition, each year inspectors conduct 75‑100 in‑depth, onsite accountability audits of controlled substances stocked by pharmacies, hospitals and practitioners. Some audits are performed randomly and routinely even though no problems are suspected or anticipated. Other audits are performed where routine inspections have revealed unacceptable record keeping or potential diversion, or where complaints have been received about possible diversion activity.

Violations and discrepancies discovered during investigations, inspections or audits may lead the BDC to take administrative action against a facility or practitioner. In most cases, the BDC and the DHEC legal office issue an Order to Show Cause. The order requires that a facility's designated representative or an individual practitioner appear at an informal pre‑hearing conference. Most matters are resolved at these pre‑hearing conferences, usually through issuance of an Administrative Consent Order. An Administrative Consent Order imposes sanctions and, in some cases, monetary fines. The fines are forwarded to the S.C. Department of Mental Health for use in state alcohol and drug treatment centers.

The BDC receives 750 to 1,000 complaints each year involving diversion of controlled substances from legal outlets. The complaints come from other federal, state and local agencies, health care professionals, and concerned citizens. About 450-500 of the complaints typically result in the arrest and prosecution of individuals in state or federal court. Approximately 25 percent of those prosecuted are health care professionals.

BDC inspectors provide educational programs to health care groups, law enforcement groups, and students. The programs enhance awareness of the proper use and abuse of controlled substances.

Bureau inspectors also provide assistance, as well as advice to health professionals, law enforcement officers and members of the general public regarding controlled substance statutes and regulations.

The BDC launched its prescription monitoring program, called SCRIPTS, on January 1, 2008. The program requires dispensing practitioners and pharmacies to collect and report dispensing activity of all CII-CIV controlled substances.  As of February 1, 2013 SCRIPTS had more than 50 million records.

For additional information, contact: (803) 896-0636 Fax (803) 896-0627