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Prosecutor adds investigator to fight illegal use of drugs

Mar. 20, 2013 @ 10:40 PM

IRONTON -- The Lawrence County Drug and Major Crimes Task Force has a new tool in trying to stem the flow of illegal or fraudulently obtained prescription drugs.

Kenneth Adkins, a former Lawrence County sheriff's deputy, has been hired as a "pharmaceutical diversion" investigator in the office of Prosecuting Attorney Brigham M. Anderson. The office was able to obtain grant funds for the position, Anderson said Wednesday. Adkins also serves as a member of the Lawrence County Drug and Major Crimes Task Force.

"He works with doctors and pharmacists," Anderson said. "His primary responsibility is to investigate those who are fraudulently and or illegally obtaining prescription medications."

A pharmacist called the office about a possible fraudulent prescription that led to the arrest Tuesday of two Ironton residents, Anderson said. Zach Abrams, 23, and Teresa Stormes, 42, both of the 900 block of Park Avenue, Ironton, were charged with two counts of deception to obtain dangerous drugs. The two were arrested by Ironton police and task force members, Anderson said.

The two were lodged in the Lawrence County Jail and are scheduled to appear Thursday in Ironton Municipal Court.

The misuse of prescription drugs is a huge problem, Anderson said. "We're continuing to put efforts to eradicating the drug epidemic," he said.

Stormes and Abrams were arrested at the local pharmacy when they tried to pick up the fraudulent prescription, Anderson said.

After working part time in 2011 with the task force, Adkins was hired full-time in the prosecutor's office after additional grant funding was secured, Anderson said.

In addition to enhanced investigation efforts, the task force provides other services, including doing drug awareness presentations for more than 200 medical staff, educators and civic organizations and sponsoring an annual public drug awareness forum, Anderson said.

An anonymous drug tip line also is available at 740-534-5830.