The U.S. Attorneys’ Community announced this week that it has joined the Partnership at Drugfree.org to promote its multi-year campaign, the Medicine Abuse Project, which began on Sept. 23, 2012.
"We are deeply grateful to the United States Attorneys’ Offices around the nation for joining this collaborative Project to effectively address the intentional abuse of prescription and over-the-counter cough medicine," Steve Pasierb, president and CEO of The Partnership at Drugfree.org, said in a press release. "The U.S. Department of Justice has been an active supporter of our innovative community-based prevention programs. Forging new relationships with partners in the federal criminal justice community is a significant strategic step forward as we build a sustained public/private initiative. The influential voice of U.S. Attorneys’ Offices will help greatly in educating parents and teens about the significant and largely underestimated risks of medicine abuse."
The Northern District of Georgia, one of 94 U.S. Attorneys’ offices, is teaming up with the partnership, which aims to curb the abuse of prescription drugs while encouraging parents and the public to take action. A primary focus of the initiative will be to educate communities about the dangers of abusing prescription and over-the-counter medicines.
"Prescription drug abuse is one of the country’s fastest growing problems confronting our youth. Every day, more than 2,000 kids abuse prescription drugs for the first time, which has led to more teens abusing prescription medications than any of the other dangerous illegal drugs—including ecstasy, heroin, methamphetamine, and cocaine," United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said in a statement.
"It is estimated that 1 in 6 teens has used some form of prescription medicine to get high. The danger of this trend is evidenced by one simple fact: Six times more people die from prescription drug abuse than from the use of all other illicit drugs combined. Indeed, more people die in the United States each year from drug overdoses than from car crashes. We urge parents to talk with their kids about the dangers of prescription drug abuse—it could save their lives."
In conjunction with the campaign, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia will also be working with the Drug Enforcement Administration to promote their National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day on Sept. 29, 2012.
Cartersville Police Department is hosting the local pill take-back event from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday.
This will be DEA’s fifth time collecting unused, unneeded and expired prescription drugs. Tablets, capsules and all other solid dosage forms will be collected. Intravenous solutions, injectables and syringes will not be accepted. To date, the agency has received 1.5 million pounds, or 774 tons, of prescription drugs from the public. To find a collection site near you, go to www.dea.gov and click on the "Got Drugs?" link.
The United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia is actively involved in investigating and prosecuting prescription drug abuse. In addition to recent prosecutions include the following cases:
- On Aug. 28, 2012, a federal grand jury indicted Samuel Davis Mintlow, M.D. and Mark James Del Percio on charges of conspiring, distributing and dispensing controlled substances for no legitimate medical purpose. Mintlow and Del Percio are alleged to have operated Liberty Wellness, a large scale "pill mill" in Norcross, Georgia that dispensed prescriptions for Schedule II and IV controlled substances. During the investigation of the clinic, on numerous occasions, evidence was obtained showing that the clinic regularly prescribed oxycodone, Opana, Xanax, Percocet and Soma to “patients” for no legitimate medical purpose.
- On Feb. 1, 2011, a federal grand jury returned a superseding indictment against thirteen individuals in the Northwest Georgia area who conspired to illegally procure oxycodone pills and then re-sell them for profit. Specifically, the organization, headed by Johnny Alvarez, obtained the vast majority of its pills from pharmacies in Florida following visits with doctors there. Pills were then distributed throughout the Southeast, including Northwest Georgia, Tennessee, West Virginia and Kentucky. Investigators determined that the conspiracy was responsible for trafficking hundreds of thousands of Oxycodone pills. All 13 members of the organization have pleaded guilty and the final defendant will be sentenced in October 2012.
For more information, please visit: www.drugfree.org.