KINGSPORT, Tenn. - More than 1,000 people died in 2011 from drug overdoses in Tennessee.
"While the traditional illegal drugs like cocaine and marijuana and meth are always going to be a problem, the prescription drug problem far out weights any issues we have with any illegal drugs," said Kingsport Police Officer, Tom Patton.
Patton said prescription pill abuse has been on the rise for nearly five years. "They're not coming from robberies or thefts as much as people who are selling their prescriptions," said Patton.
Patton said many people are getting pills to sell by going from one doctor to the other getting large amounts of pain medication, in a short amount of time. Doctor William Kyle explained he sees it all the time. "At least four or five people everyday are either blatantly seeking drugs or they have some kind of pain that doesn't look legitimate," he said.
The Tennessee Health Department is now requiring doctors to look up in the state's substance controlled monitoring database, so they can see when and where the person was last prescribed, keeping them from buying large quantities of anything with upload or benzoic. "Opinions being lortabs, hydrocodone, percocets, being the benzos, valium and all of those misused drugs," said Kyle.
The department believes this will help bring down the number of problems that come with misuse of prescribed drugs, but Patton tells me he supports the new plan, but doesn't think it will help for long. "The problem is so widespread that it's going to be more of a hurtle than a hindrance," he said.
We learned from the Health Department that they are most concerned about women who are in the childbearing age because of the high number of babies born dependent on legal or illegal drugs during pregnancy.
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