Prescription drug abuse Hancock County's top drug problem - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Prescription drug abuse Hancock County's top drug problem

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HANCOCK COUNTY, MS (WLOX) -

The Director of the Hancock County Narcotics Task Force says prescription medication pushers have become the number one problem in the battle against drugs.

Last year, the task force made more arrests for prescription medication abuse than ever before. In fact, narcotics agents ended the year with a record number of drug cases.

Oxycotin, methadone and hydrocodine. Those are all prescription medications Hancock County Narcotics leaders say have become the drugs of choice for illegal trafficking.

"One, because they are so easily accessible for people to get. Whether that's through doctor shopping, everybody knows someone that's taking some type of prescription pills, they steal from family members or friends," said Jeremy Skinner, Director of the Hancock County Narcotics Task Force.

Pushers arrested for selling prescription medications helped to push the number of drug cases in the county to new levels last year, according to Skinner.

"Through the dedication of the agents and a lot of hard work they were able to increase our generated case load about 343-percent this year over 2011, and about 282-percent over 2010's case numbers. The total number of cases was around 474 cases that were worked in 2012. With 335 of those being felony cases to include around 40 meth labs."

Skinner said although meth remains a big problem in the county, a relatively new state law has provided some relief.

"The placement of the Sudafed law making it illegal without a prescription has helped some. We're starting to see a resurgent of heroin in the county. We're starting to see some ice being brought in. But ultimately, the number one abused narcotic would be prescription pills."

Skinner has a warning to anyone abusing prescription drugs: You better watch out, because they are working with state agencies to help get the illegal pills and the people who sell them off the street.

Narcotics officials say in addition to more drug arrests last year, they also confiscated about $40,000 in cash, 12 vehicles and about 50 guns.

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