Wiregrass Drug Task Force Seeing Increase in Prescription Drugs

By: Deanna Bettineschi Email
By: Deanna Bettineschi Email

Officers with the Ozark Drug Task Force say the most common type of prescription drug abuse, is pain killers.

Using a prescribed pain pill for an ache is fine, but when you go over that limit, is the problem.

“It’s probably the number one thing we deal with on a daily basis.
And it covers a wide range from people that get involved with pain killers to where they develop an addiction” Drug Task Force Captain Marlos Walker said.

Walker says the problem has increased over the past two to three years.
And from conversations he's had with drug users, many believe it’s safer to abuse prescription drugs...than other "street drugs".

“A lot of people do believe it is safer than crack or marijuana or any other drugs they come into contact with but what I can say is it’s still an addictive drug. It’s still one of the main reasons that we have problems in our families and our communities.” Walker said.

That's just it, it's not safer, and it causes the same types of scary situations in homes through the wiregrass.

“Normally when we respond to someone like that their unresponsive, unable to tell us what went on. We have to search around through the residence and see if they took any type of prescription medication.” Ozark Fire Department Operations Chief Steve Sketo said.

Sketo says Lorcet, Vicadin, and Oxycontin are the most common pain killers people abuse.
But they all have the same effect when taken irresponsibly.

“It can cause problems with their breathing, their central nervous system. It can speed up their heartbeat real fast, there are several different complications that can come from that.” Sketo said.

Despite the large amounts of abuse emergency officials see on a daily basis.
Putting the abusers in jail is not the goal, it's to get them help.

“One thing we try to do through the court systems, and even in our daily duties, is we try to do some preventative stuff and even after the fact, try to get people in to programs to help them with their addictions.” Walker said.

However, the person has to want the help in order for a successful outcome.

Officials say many people who abuse these prescriptions, go from doctor to doctor complaining of false pain to get pills.

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