Seemingly, it is just about impossible to not see a breaking story every other day or so that points to America’s notable prescription drug problem. Reams of evidence point squarely to what is a national epidemic of sorts tied to the highly addictive powers of so-called opioids like oxycodone, fentanyl and hydrocodone.
We have contributed to the news flow at the St. Louis criminal defense firm of Rosenblum Schwartz & Fry. One of our recent blog posts highlighted the national scourge of overprescribed narcotic medicines. Our April 25 entry noted that the opioid problem is by all indications huge, and that “legions of Americans who languish behind bars following drug crimes convictions [can] all attest to its vast dimensions.”
Moreover, it certainly has a local tinge. Stories recurrently surface that underscore the efforts made by Missouri drug task forces to arrest and convict defendants on prescription drug charges.
One major media story that surfaced just a couple days ago spotlights a program begun in St. Louis County about a year ago that is now participated in by scores of other Missouri locales.
Its main thrust: to monitor prescription drugs, most specifically their prescribing histories and the identities of individuals who law enforcers subsequently take a special interest in. A key finding from program data is that opioids are being overprescribed across the St. Louis metro area. One national news focus on the program cites officials’ concern that “doctor-shopping and drug abuse” are core catalysts underlying the problem.
It is estimated that Opioid overdoses killed as many as 800 individuals last year in the St. Louis area.