Drug abuse is a large part of crime
RISING TIDE: Abuse of prescription medicine poses growing challenge
By John Davis
Last Modified: Wednesday, August 12, 2009 at 10:50 p.m.
Drug offenses are up sharply -- 41 percent compared with the same period last year.
Police are often finding people with painkillers and other narcotics they are not supposed to have during routine traffic stops and domestic violence calls.
"The biggest wave I've seen lately is the diversion of otherwise legal narcotics," Police Chief
One person was found dead June 5 after he snorted oxycodone with his stepfather the night before, according to police. An autopsy showed the painkiller Oxycodone and cocaine were in Block's system.
Another person got prescriptions for 250 oxycodone pills from doctors in Venice and North Port within a matter of days by "doctor shopping," or going to multiple doctors to get prescriptions for the same ailment, interviews with a doctor showed.
Availability has led addicts who once made and used illicit drug to switch to pills like oxycodone.
"It's very conveniently packaged, very easy to distribute," he said. "I don't have to have a grow house. I don't have to have a meth lab."
Meanwhile, police are watching for prescription-drug fraud and abuse, whether from people buying and selling them illegally or committing other crimes to feed addictions.
"It is something we've asked officers to pay a lot more attention to," Lewis said about the connection between some crimes and painkiller addiction.