One in Eight Big Apple Residents Prescribed Oxycontin
New York City owns a disturbing statistic: prescriptions for oxycodone have doubled in the last three years, according to one of its narcotics prosecutors. The Wall Street Journal article referring to it as “the city’s prescription drug abuse epidemic” was so matter-of-fact it was scary. The article said that the figures equate “to one prescription for every eight people” in the city. I’m reminded of how The New York Times posted the number of casualties in a recent military conflict every day to illustrate the rising toll. The articles about oxycodone have the same effect—chilling.
Unfortunately, the problem has a ripple effect. Less than an hour from New York City, in Newark, NJ, police uncovered an oxycodone ring whose members included a doctor and a retired policeman. Twelve people. The Wall Street Journal article appeared on March 16; the NorthJersey.com article about Newark appeared on March 24. The culprits face up to 20 years in prison.
I love the statement in the article on the NorthJersey.com site from a government staffer: “Doctors who illegally prescribe are often the first link in a chain of addiction and suffering,” said U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman. Horrific. But they’re not the last.
The police had this group under surveillance for a year. You wonder how these criminals approached each other. How did they know who would be interested in joining them? How many people did they reach ? How many people who are cut off will just find another source? Will some go for treatment?
Both these states are known for so many good things. The prescription pill epidemic is not one of them.