Prescription drugs are at the heart of recent pharmacy crimes


Yet another case of prescription drug abuse has been reported in Florida.

A doctor from Palmetto Bay was charged with trafficking and sale of oxycodone earlier this week, a first degree felony. Just last week, a Publix employee was arrested for stealing prescription drugs. As Florida’s 89.1, WUFT-FM’s Marc Whiteman reports, officials are looking into ways to stop the increase in prescription drugs across the state.

Groceries and clothing might be the old-age choice of theft for the petty criminal, but lately prescription drug theft has become much more frequent. While one often begins by taking painkillers legitimately, sometimes the drug quickly becomes too much to handle.

And as addiction to painkillers grows, so too does desperation.

“Many of the people that are addicted and are dependent on these drugs had, at one time, a legitimate medical illness. Chronic low back pain. Auto accidents. Other types of things that cause nagging and constant pain. So the drugs we’re talking about here have a legitimate use. The problem is this: once they grab ahold of you, they gotcha,” says University of Florida pharmacy Distinguished Service Professor Paul Doering

As a member of the medical community for nearly 40 years, Doering has seen his fair share of medical trends, both positive and negative. Of the most worrisome trends he’s noted over the years, dependence on prescription drugs has to be near the top.

“Drug dependence, frankly, is a biochemical disorder in the body. It actually can change the chemistry in your brain, the balance of what they call neurotransmitters. It kind of resets those nerve transmitters such that when the drug goes away, the body doesn’t function like it should. The body goes into a chaotic state, the only cure for which in their mind is taking more drugs,” he says.

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