Law Enforcement Weighs in on Drug Abuse

by Katie McGraw on November 29, 2013 at 4:12 am

It’s day three of the investigative look at opiate drug abuse in the state, county and city. The series Prescription for Addiction continues and the focus shifts to law enforcement agencies and the efforts to stop this epidemic.

"There are three things crimes revolve around, drugs, sex and money," said Captain Tony Coury of the Zanesville Police Department

Captain Coury and Sheriff Matt Lutz, estimate drug offenses are about 80 to 90 percent of all crimes committed in our area. prescription pills are one of the most abused substances simply due to its availability.

"It is legal if they have a prescription with them," explained Sheriff Matt Lutz.

In recent years, pill mills were popping up in several states, including southern Ohio, where doctors were prescribing pain medications inappropriately or even illegally.

"They had a totally cash only business, no nurses, no secretary,” CEO of Muskingum Behavioral Health, Steve Carrel said. “You showed up with x number of dollars, and you were guaranteed to get a prescription for pain killers."

"Billions of dollars, people are getting rich somewhere, these pill companies are getting rich, doctors are getting rich, everybody is getting money from prescription drugs.”

While law enforcement is trying their best to beat pill abuse, they are unfortunately losing the battle .

"It is easy to get frustrated,” said Sheriff Lutz. “Because you put a person away, and it seems like two or there more just step right into their place."

Another pain for police, is the growing trend of mothers abusing medication while pregnant. Currently there is no

"The law can’t do anything, but at the moment of birth a number of these kids are being taken away from their mothers,” Carrel explained.

"A lot of these children are in homes that are family members, so there isn’t much of punishment to that mother, because she can still see her child and she can still interact her child, even if she loses custody,” said Director of Help Me Grow Programs, Heather Rice. “So what penalty was there for her in doing the drugs?” she asked. “There isn’t any in my opinion.”

"There needs to be changes, there needs to be an accountability for these people that abuse drugs and harm their infant children,” Coury added.

There are early intervention programs such as Help Me Grow, to assist children who have been impacted by their mother’s drug use.

On the final segment of Prescription for Addiction Friday at 6 and 11, hear from a local inmate who can attest to the evils of prescription pill abuse.