The problem is a big one. Regina LaBelle with the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy told those gathered at the Summit that the number of deaths during the height of the heroin and cocaine epidemics pale in comparison the deaths now from prescription drug abuse. Shockingly, more people die from prescription drugs than cocaine, heroin and hallucinogens combined.
What may seem so benign, a bottle of pills, has the power to take hold of a person and become something much more harmful then it was ever intended to be. Marshall Fisher, the executive director of the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics said, “This is not just a public safety issue anymore, it’s a public health issue as well. We’ve got the second fastest growing drug problem in the United States of America.”
Fisher says that a whopping 95% of all drug overdose deaths in Mississippi are due to the abuse of prescription narcotics. The number of pills floating around out there is huge and agencies have their work cut out for them trying to stem the flow of the drugs onto the street. Last month alone more than nine million doses of Hydrocodone were dispensed in state. The state’s entire population is only about three million, meaning the problem is mammoth.
One of the biggest problems is getting people to recognize the danger the drugs pose. Because the drugs come in bottles with labels it is much less stigmatized than doing crack in an alleyway. The drug abuse often leads to criminal activity, including the faking of prescriptions and other crime to get your hands on the drugs. Just this week a pharmacy in Jackson was broken into and drugs were stolen.
Under Mississippi law, it is illegal for any person to knowingly or intentionally possess, sell, deliver, transfer, or attempt to possess a false, fraudulent or forged prescription of a doctor. Prescription fraud is a felony offense which is punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a maximum $1,000 fine. If you’ve been involved in something that requires the skill of an experienced Mississippi criminal defense lawyer, please call us today.
Source: “Summit takes on prescription drug abuse in Mississippi,” by Mike McDaniel, published at WLOX.com.