Feds crack down on prescription drug trafficking | Crime
ATLANTA -- A federal grand jury in Atlanta has charged a total of 13 defendants from two states with illegally trafficking in oxycodone and other prescription drugs.
The two cases arise out of intensified efforts to address Georgia's growing problem with prescription drug abuse.
"Prescription drug abuse is our nation's fastest-growing segment of illegal drug use, causing significantly more overdose deaths than cocaine, methamphetamine and heroin combined," said United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates.
In the first incident, 11 Georgia residents were charged with conspiring to forge oxycodone prescriptions and sell the illegally obtained tablets. The defendants were from Marietta, Acworth, Canton, Newnan and Braselton.
Oxycodone is the generic name of a prescription painkiller that can be found in popular medications like Oxycontin, Percocet and Roxycodone.
The second case involved two Kentucky residents who were charged with trafficking oxycodone in Metro Atlanta.
"The sharp increase in the distribution of pain pills for non-medical reasons continues to be a major concern," said Rodney G. Benson, special agent in charge of the Atlanta Field Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration. "As such, DEA and its local law enforcement counterparts will continue to target those who traffic these addictive pain medications."
Earlier this year, a group of leaders in federal, state and local law enforcement, public policy, health and academia gathered for a summit at Georgia State University to explore the scope of prescription drug abuse and steps that can be taken to address the problem.
"The participants at this summit demonstrated that Georgia is experiencing an epidemic of prescription drug abuse that is devastating many of our communities," Yates said. "The problem is one that law enforcement cannot solve alone, and instead will require a comprehensive effort from public health, medicine and our communities."
On Apr. 19, legislation was passed to approve a prescription drug monitoring program, which will allow police and the medical board to more effectively identify and prevent the diversion and misuse of oxycodone and other frequently abused medications.
The bill is currently awaiting Governor Nathan Deal's signature to be enacted into law.
In the meantime, the U.S. Attorney's Office in Atlanta recommends that parents and children learn about the dangers of drugs at the website www.justthinktwice.com.