Prescription drug abuse on the rise in Jackson Co. - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Prescription drug abuse on the rise in Jackson Co.

JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) -

By Patrice Clark – bio | email

JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) – Jackson County's Narcotics Task Force commander says prescription drug abuse is skyrocketing. Curtis Spiers said since 2008, prescription drug arrests have shot up nearly 50 percent.  

"There is a huge prescription abuse problem along the Mississippi Gulf Coast," Spiers said.

That drug problem is growing in Jackson County. Spiers said he's locked up a record number of people for possessing, using, and selling illegal pills. 

"From January 2009 to current, we have made 141 arrests related to prescription pills. In cases made from January of last year to current, we have had 112 cases that revolve around specifically prescription pill abuse." 

The more popular pills, Spiers said, are pain meds like Lortab. 

"Seventy-five percent of a Lortab pill is Tylenol. High doses of Tylenol, basically, it turns your liver into a rock and people are dying from liver failure." 

Spiers blames the recent surge in prescription abuse on accessibility, low cost, and the fact the drugs are legal. 

"People believe they can get away with it and they won't get in trouble," Spiers said. 

The Jackson County Narcotics Task Force is now working with Jackson County pharmacies to crackdown on forged prescriptions. Pharmacist Kristi Phelps is among those helping lookout for drug abusers. 

"Whenever we see a suspicious prescription, we call the Narcotic Task Force of Jackson County," Phelps said. 

Phelps hopes her phone calls and the narcotics agents' crackdown will help make Jackson County drug free.

"We want to make sure our community stays safe," Phelps said. 

"Just because it comes out of a pill bottle, just because it comes out of a pharmacy, if you are abusing it or if it is not suppose to belong to you, then you will be arrested and go to jail," Spiers said. 

Copyright 2010 WLOX. All rights reserved

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