Prescription Drug Use On The Rise

Prescription drug use is on the rise as more and more people are becoming addicted to “over the counter” medication. Addicts are Doctor shopping to feed thier habits, which is leading to an increase in crime. Many addicts are turning to the medication OxyContin and oxycodone which are highly addictive opiates!

News source: Bethel Patch

Imagine that your parents are providing your children with an endless supply of addictive narcotics that will lead them directly to heroin addiction. In too many cases, according to experts and police departments, this is happening in a home near you.

At a seminar for the misuse of prescription drugs, Allison Fulton, executive director for the Housatonic Valley Coalition Against Substance Abuse, said that in this area, most young people cannot really afford to buy expensive pills, but can readily get the drugs from family members.

“Grandparents do not realize that they are drug dealers. Many leave their prescription drugs out on the kitchen counter,” Fulton said. “Older people don’t have an understanding of kids’ mindset.”

Commonly prescribed drugs like OxyContin and oxycodone are opiates, and are derived from the same source as heroin. Det. Sgt. James Wright of the Bethel Police Department noted a video, entitled The Oxycontin Express, that highlights “pill mills” in Florida. Minimal requirements for purchasing these regulated narcotics have resulted in areas in Florida that have become a major resource for drug traffickers.

The impact in Connecticut was seen in 2011 when three Florida Transportation Security Administration and a Connecticut law enforcement official were arrested at the Westchester airport with tens of thousands of pills marked for distribution in the Stamford area.

Prescription drug addiction has changed the stereotype of the drug addict. “You used to know what the heroin addict looked like but today, it is not like that. It’s anybody,” Wright said.

With drug addiction comes crime, and Wright said, “In 2011, there were 298 larcenies, which is up from 151 the year before. That’s quite a bit,” he said.

Wright did not believe that the rise in crime had anything to do with the economy. “The people we are arresting have an addiction, they are not people who lost their jobs.”

“We have made a lot of arrests and we found a lot of people have an addiction to heroin, OxyContin, any opium based drug, hydrocodone, morphines. Heroin is opium. These prescription drugs are opiates,” Wright said.

In Danbury, Sgt. Mark Trohalis and Sgt. Thomas Michael agreed. Trohalis said, “With oxys, that addiction is expensive to maintain and it becomes a heroin addiction. It could cost $25 for a 25 gram pill, but they can buy a bag of heroin for $7 to $20.”

“There has always been a correlation between drug addicts and burglaries and robberies, and there has been a definite increase in the last six years,” Danbury Police Det Lt. James Fischer said.

In a 2001 press release from Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, law enforcement and physicians were just beginning to understand how addictive these drugs are. “The use of OxyContin and its abuse, prevalent in other areas of the country, is on the rise in Connecticut. Prescriptions for all common opioid pain relievers (codeine, hydrocodone, morphine, hydromorphone) increased 23% from 1996-2000. During the same time period, prescriptions for OxyContin increased 1800%.”

In 2001, six deaths in Connecticut were attributed to OxyCodone, according to that release. Ten years later, accidental prescription overdose became the leading cause of accidental death for people under the age of 45 in eleven states, including CT, according to the Center for Disease Control.