State of Montana Suffers from Growing Cases of Prescription Drug Abuse
It seems that prescription drugs are becoming deadlier by the minute, at least for people who abuse them. In Montana, the state’s Department of Justice reports that it is prescription drugs that are killing an average of 300 Montanans a year. Great Falls Police Sgt. Chris Hickman, who is the commander of the Central Montana Drug Task Force, said “It’s pretty clear that prescription drugs are killing more Montanans than all the other drugs combined.”
Recently, Great Falls football star and former NFL quarterback Ryan Leaf, was sentenced to nine months of lockdown addiction treatment after pleading guilty for illegal possession of painkillers and burglary. Though Leaf’s case – professional athlete strayed on drugs – is nothing new, neither is the problem on prescription addiction. In fact, those in the medical and criminal justice circle have witnessed how prescription abuse in the state has steadily become worse in the past 15 years.
While opiate derivatives remain the most commonly abused prescription medications as they mimic the effects of heroin, hydrocodone and oxycodone are ultimate big sellers on the black market. Hydrocodone is usually found in prescriptions as Vicodin and Lortab; whereas, oxycodone is an active ingredient in medications, such as Percocet or Percodan. Additionally, fentanyl, which is often prescribed to terminally ill or cancer-stricken patients, has also become very popular among prescription drug abusers.
Teenagers are also beginning to find solace in prescription medications like Adderall or Ritalin – stimulants that are given to patients with ADHD.
Hickman adds that pills are the most widely distributed drug in Montana and the easiest to get. Buyers and sellers managed to establish underground network that makes pills easier to access. “That pill network is really, absolutely amazing,” he said.
What’s even more bothersome is that users are often willing to pay as much as $1 per milligram for certain medications, a much higher price than in other black markets in other states; thereby, making Montana a sought-after market in the illegal distribution of prescription drugs.Tags: abusing prescription drugs, prescription abuse in Montana, prescription addiction among Montanans