How ‘Prescription Tourists” Help Spread Painkillers

by AdamS on July 7, 2012

“Pill mills” are what clinics, doctors and pharmacies who recklessly dole out prescription pain medications are referred as. However, a new threat in the fight against prescription drug abuse has begun to take over many states in our country, that threat Is “prescription tourists”. These are individuals who travel around the world in order to collect mass amounts of these types of drugs, only to return to their hometowns to sell them on the streets at an incredible price markup. Sometimes, these pills can go for as much as $100 a pop. Two of the most popular states these “prescription tourists” go to are Florida and Georgia, which are notorious for having many pill mills and detox rehab centers. These drugs lead many people to need help with opiate detox in the United States.

How It Works

Once a person finds a source to get these pills, they continue to come back for more. Richard Allen, Director of the Georgia Drugs and Narcotics Agency says, “They’re like locusts. Once they have a script, they’ll hit every pharmacy in the state trying to get them filled.” These individuals are significantly contributing to the amount of overdose deaths that have become commonplace in many parts of the country. Because these people are crossing state lines so frequently, it can be difficult for authorities to keep track of them. In Florida, to help combat the growing problem, Governor Rick Scott created the Florida Drug Enforcement Strike Force Team, which have closed, to date, 254 clinics known to give out prescriptions to these drug runners. This model shows that while stopping this type of activity is hard, it is not impossible.

Drug Runners

However, drug runners are becoming aware of Florida’s new crackdown, and are migrating to other states who have not been subjected to this kind of problem yet. For example, Georgia, which had no pill mills just three years ago, now has as many as 150. “It’s not hard to figure out how to stop it if we can educate people to safeguard their drugs, take only what they need to avoid addiction and educate doctors not to over-prescribe,” says Dallas Guy, who helped Georgia initiate their own educational program to combat this issue. However, many people believe that this is causing an unfair crackdown on pharmacies and doctors who give these kinds of pain killing drugs to people who actually need them and who are not using them recreationally. Paul Sloan, who owns several pain management clinics in Florida, and whose business has been severely impacted by Governor Scott’s new initiative, says, “We’re dealing with a war on legitimate medications that’s being dealt with like we’re all cartels and drug lords.”

It is important that states continue to educate their citizens about the dangers associated with taking prescription painkillers recreationally. They can cause severe amounts of damage to a person’s health, and can easily foster an addiction that can destroy people’s lives and lead them to need help from detox rehab centers. These people will be forced to go into opiate detox treatment. “Prescription tourists” are exacerbating this problem by showing no concern for the general welfare of the people, and by giving anyone with a fist full of cash however much drugs they want. As always, vigilance and education is the best way to remedy this growing concern.

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