drug abuse is growing problem
Wanda English Burnett, Editor
Abusing prescription drugs has become an epidemic
that bridges age, social and economic barriers.
Law enforcement officers are seeing the problem in students as
young as middle school age as was evidenced in a recent situation
in Jennings County. WRBI Radio reported that the students had
various prescription drugs at school that they shared. Teachers
noticed their unusual behavior and reported it to the proper authorities.
The thing that makes it so easy for children is the accessibility.
Its as close as their parents medicine cabinet.
A recent sweep in Dearborn County saw numerous arrests made that
included charges of dealing in a controlled substance, forgery,
neglect of a dependant, controlled substances offenses relating
to registration (means the prescription was obtained by fraud).
Within a three day period, law enforcement made nearly three dozen
arrests with some Ripley County residents involved. In the Dearborn
County sweep, Rhonda Deaton, 45, of Milan, was arrested for forgery
and attempt to unlawfully acquire a controlled substance. Chad
Allen Estridge, 32, of Sunman, was arrested on charges of controlled
offenses relating to registration or obtaining a prescription
by fraud. Deborah Bergman, Milan, was later arrested in Ripley
County, on charges of possession of a controlled substance.
Ripley County Prosecutor Ric Hertel said prescription drug abuse
is definitely on the rise and is an extremely dangerous practice.
He noted that people are taking drugs not prescribed for them,
which is a prescription for disaster. When the dosage doesnt
match the symptoms, the body weight, etc., it can be fatal, according
to the prosecutor who has seen it happen right here in Ripley
Hertel feels its particularly a dangerous situation because
of the accessibility and affordability. Everybody knows
someone whos taking prescriptions, he told The Versailles
Republican. He said people even go as far as doctor shopping
and forging prescriptions, to get the drugs they want.
Doctor shopping is where a patient will go from doctor to doctor,
even city to city, getting multiple prescriptions mainly for pain.
They dont tell the new doctor that they are already under
another doctors care.
The prosecutor also explained that people are not taking the medication
as prescribed, which is another problem. Basically, offenders
are snorting, crushing, also injecting medicines not in the manner
Hertel stressed that people should never share prescription medication,
its against the law and could have a fatal outcome. He also
suggested that adults keep track of their prescription medicines
and dispose of any unused medication.
Hertel noted that sometimes the problem escalates after someone
gets a legitimate prescription for pain killers. They become
addicted to them or just like the way they feel when taking the
medicine, he noted. He said often times people have the
misconception that prescription drugs are safe because a doctor
has prescribed them. While thats true if the patient takes
the medicine only as prescribed, its not at all the case
if the drugs wind up in the wrong hands.
Some treatment programs that counter offer addictions with other
drugs are also being abused, according to the prosecutor.
Some of the more popular drugs include: Oxycodone, Fentanyl, Methadone,
Vicodin, Percocet, Oxycontin, and Xanax.
The charge for selling a controlled substance such as a prescription
drug can be as high as a Class A Felony, which has a range of
20-50 years imprisonment with a $10,000 fine.
While the accessibility and affordability can make the sale of
prescription drugs seem like an easy way to make quick money,
the penalty can land those convicted in prison for a long time.
As the problem becomes more widespread, special drug task forces
are being formed to combat it. Law enforcement agencies are pulling
together working with doctors and pharmacies to halt the dangerous
trafficking of prescription drugs.
If you have knowledge of illegal use or sales of prescription
drugs, call local authorities at 812-689-5000.