Prescription Pill Abuse Tragedies – Will They Never End?
Pick up any local paper and you’re bound to find at least one article relating to substance abuse. Recently there was an article in my local paper about a former pediatric surgeon who practiced in my state, NJ, before moving to Florida. At some point he got a job at one of the notorious pain clinics and joined the ranks of doctors who are a disgrace to the profession. In September he was arrested on what the paper called murder-by-drug charges.
A 24-year-old Florida man died after the 77-year-old doctor gave him a prescription for more than 200 oxycodone pills. The doctor worked at a West Palm Beach pain clinic, prescribing 300,000 pills in 18 months. This will be a landmark case, according to the paper, the first time both a doctor and a pain clinic owner (two brothers, in this case) were indicted.
The paper said this:
“The indictment against [these men] came as part of a sweeping multiagency investigation dubbed Operation Prescription for Death, according to the state attorney. That probe was part of an even larger investigation by the state attorney, Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, FBI and federal Drug Enforcement Administration. It resulted in an indictment of 32 people on drug charges that also fall under Florida’s racketeering statutes, officials said.”
The doctor practiced or lived in the small town I grew up in. You wonder what makes someone take such a wrong turn in life.
Three days later, another article in the same paper told of a drug deal involving prescription pills gone horribly wrong further south in my state. Two males, ages 19 and 21, met two other males around the same age behind an elementary school to buy “pain medication.” The sellers attacked the buyers and put one of them in the hospital and stole the other’s cellphone. They were caught and charged with robbery and assault.
What happened to these four guys’ potential? Let’s hope they can still turn their lives around.