GREENVILLE, PITT COUNTY - Warrants show that former Pitt County Sheriff's Deputy Tyler Bryan, who was charged with a drug-related offense, was prescribed a narcotic while on the force. (For the full background on the allegations brought against Bryan click here.) Officials say he was allowed to drive and carry a gun during that time.
We asked Sheriff Neil Elks about his office's drug policy, and whether or not Bryan should have been allowed to carry out his normal duties while on the drug. Elks said he'd asked the same question when Bryan was prescribed the narcotic. He said supervisors communicate with doctors to determine whether or not the deputy should be on restricted duty.
"If it is a medication that a doctor prescribes them and the doctor suggests that they not do certain duties then we certainly want to adhere to that," said Major Paula Dance. "At any given time there is an opportunity that they can run into a situation that a split-second decision has to be made. We know that some medications can impair that."
Major Dance says when deputies are prescribed a narcotic, he or she is required to notify their supervisor. It is up to the supervisor to monitor the deputy.
"We look for things such as employees calling out a lot. Just behavior changes, mood changes," said Major Dance.
We went to Charlene Peden, a local pharmacist at Medical Park Pharmacy in Greenville, to get her opinion on the subject. Peden says everyone reacts differently to narcotic prescriptions.
"A lot of people take them all day long, and get along fine with them," said Peden.
Peden said she doesn't believe deputies should automatically be put on restricted duty when prescribed a narcotic. However, she said sometimes dosages increase.
"The 5 milligram becomes a 10 milligram, becomes a 15 milligram, that becomes not 120 a month, 180 a month," said Peden.
Therefore, she believes deputies should be routinely monitored.
Sheriff's deputies weren't the only ones allegedly duped by Bryan. Peden knew him well, also.
"I felt so betrayed, I mean just total betrayal. I mean, I trusted him. I thought he was a great guy," said Peden.
Major Dance said the sheriff's office randomly drug tests their deputies.