Monday, February 08, 2010

Appalachian Ohio prescription drug trade worsens

Prescription drug abuse in Ohio is escalating, with most of the problem centered on the southeastern region of the state. In 2008, Ohio pharmacists filled 2.7 million prescriptions for narcotics that contain oxycodone and 4.8 million prescriptions for hydrocodone medications, Holly Zachariah of The Columbus Dispatch reports. The oxycodone prescriptions amounted to almost one for every four Ohio residents, while the hydrocodone prescriptions were enough for almost one of every two and one-half Ohioans.

The state's drug abuse is particularly bad in its Appalachian region for a number of reasons, including poverty, location and apathy, state officialsm say. US 23 "provides a pipeline to and from Columbus," Zachariah reports. "Bordering states of Kentucky and West Virginia have significant amounts of prescription-drug abuse." William Winsley, director of the Ohio State Board of Pharmacy, told Zachariah the area also has a track record of limited resources and uncooperative elected officials who have refused to help with drug investigations.

Scioto County in Southern Ohio was named to the federal Drug Enforcement Administration's watch list of the 10 most significant places in the country for trafficking in medications. While government officials brainstorm ways to tackle the problem, a grass-roots movement in Southern Ohio has risen up against the abuse, Zachariah reports. Activists in the region are considering pickets at the pain clinics and want to photograph the cars that come and go. (Read more)

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