According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, there are more Americans abusing psychotherapeutics than the number of cocaine, heroin and hallucinogen abusers combined. The Centers for Disease Control says that prescription drugs are responsible for more overdose deaths than “street drugs” such as cocaine, heroin, and amphetamines.
Dothan Police Sgt. Jason Adkins, who is the supervisor of the Dothan Police narcotics unit, said prescription medication is the number one abused drug investigated by the narcotics unit, with methamphetamine a close second. The Dothan Police Department even has an investigator who primarily works prescription medication cases. Adkins said that police commonly come across pain medications similar to Percocet, including hydrocodone, Lortab, and Lorcet. Xanax, Adderall, Ambien, and alprazolam are common too.
The most commonly filed charges involving prescription drugs are felony unlawful possession of a controlled substance, conspiracy to possess a controlled substance, attempted possession of a controlled substance and forgery charges.
Adkins said doctor shopping is one of the most common ways people get prescription medication. He said people will also change the numbers on a hand written prescription slip issued by a doctor to increase the number of pills.
“A prescription is a legal document and when they do anything to change it, it’s a forged document,” Adkins said.
Dothan Police Investigator Jon Givens said using prescription medication is considered more socially acceptable than other types of drugs. He said there’s no criminal stigma associated with using prescription medication, because most people have taken pills at some point in their life. “It’s going to have to be a concerted effort between the doctors, pharmacies and the Dothan Police Department to come up with a resolution for doctor shopping and forged prescriptions,” Givens stated.
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