Tennessee Joins The Fight Against Prescription Drug Abuse
What used to come from street dealers and drug lords now comes from a pharmacy safe. Like the rest of the U.S., Tennessee has seen a rapid increase in the number of prescription narcotics dispensed under the control of doctors that are making their way into the hands of anyone willing. Unscrupulous doctors are writing prescriptions for pills such as Oxycodone, Xanax, and Valium across the Southeast at an unimaginable rate, from establishments known as pill mills. Pill mills are usually pain clinics that take cash only and are extremely liberal and generous with the amount of medication they give out. Likewise, because they are in a bottle with their name on it there’s nothing the police can do.
However, beginning January 1, 2012, Tennessee will begin to fight to mounting illegal prescription industry through the formal regulation of pain clinics. On October 1, Tennessee recognized the emergency basis of a new prescription law that will be implemented by a new set of rules. The new regulation will require all pain clinics in Tennessee to go through a two-year certification process by the Health Department, forbid dealings in cash and establish stiff civil penalties for medical professionals who work at illegal pain clinics. This emergency basis was born out of the National Office of Drug Control recently naming prescription drug abuse as the most rapid expanding and out-of-control drug problem in the U.S. Additionally, as far as the rankings for the number of dispensed prescription medications goes, Tennessee is second in the nation.
In addition, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation recently created the Drug Diversion Task Force. Although, the task force has no full-time staff and no budget, they spend their spare time promoting awareness of prescription-drug abuse and assisting overworked local agencies. The task force focuses on all aspects of the drug problem from prescription forgeries, negligent doctors, deaths resulting from drug overdoses, pharmacy robberies and interstate drug pipelines. Between the Drug Diversion Task Force, the Metropolitan Drug Commission, and the recent and future legislative action, the illegal prescription industry will eventually crumble. This is an epidemic affecting our communities and our families and must be ended promptly.
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Summary findings from the News Sentinel investigation into the pill trade
Tennessee drug task force waging lonely war on Rx diversion
Posted By Eston Whiteside