Growing Prescription Drug 'Epidemic' has Law Enforcement Busy

By Jonathan Cooper |

Published 06/10 2014 04:49PM

Updated 06/11 2014 11:38AM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) With a growing concern over prescription drug abuse, the Drug Free Community Coalition is reaching out to the community.

On Tuesday morning, they held a luncheon to share the dangers of prescription drugs.

"It is as big as any drug problem that is in the county," said Terry White, with the Buchanan County Drug Strike Force. "It's as big as meth or marijuana or any of the rest of them that is going on right now."

White oversees a unit that focuses on prescription drug dealers and users in the county.

"There are prescription drug deals going on everyday," he said.

According to the CDC, prescription drug overdoses have now claimed more lives than traffic crashes. White said addicts are using the drugs in different, dangerous ways.

"Some of them mix even different narcotics in the same and draw it up in a syringe and put it in their arm," he said. "They don't know what potency they are getting. It has caused numerous deaths and I know one in particular in town was paralyzed because of it."

Because of cases like that and the growing problem, the Drug Free Community Coalition hosted the luncheon for White and others to share stories of substance abuse in the region.

"We certainly want to get the word out, make sure people are aware of the epidemic really," said Patti Long, with the St. Joseph Youth Alliance.

It's an epidemic that White has worked hard to stop.

By raising awareness through events like this, he hopes they can curb this dangerous new trend.

"According to the people I talked to, they are more addictive than meth," White said.

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