EYEWITNESS LOCAL NEWSFIGHTING PRESCRIPTION DRUG ABUSE
from Eyewitness News Online
Attorney General Announces New Plan To Target "Pill Mill" Suppliers
Reported by: Kallie Cart
Videographer: Brad Rice
Web Producer: Kallie Cart
Reported: Jun. 26, 2012 9:50 PM EDT
Charleston , Kanawha County , West Virginia
Officials are trying a new way to fight the on-going epidemic of prescription drug abuse. Now, the Attorney General's office is getting involved, going after the "pill mill" suppliers.
They say prescription drug abuse has become a multimillion dollar problem that is ruining lives and communities.
The small, quiet coal town of Kermit in Mingo County, was hit hard. About 300 people live in the town but a few years ago, the small town doled out more prescription pills than most big cities, ranking 22nd in the nation for the number of hyrdrocodone prescriptions filled each year
In 2006, officials say a pharmacy called Save Rite, which has now been raided and is operating under a new name and new ownership, was making $500,000 each month and filling 3-million prescriptions of hydrocodone each year.
The Mayor of Kermit says since the pharmacy raid, things have quieted down a lot but adds it was hard for his police force to handle because people had prescriptions from doctors. That's why the Attorney General is taking the fight beyond police and pharmacy raids and going after the supplier of the pharmacies.
The Attorney General has filed a lawsuit against 14 prescription drug distributors, which they call "pill mill" suppliers. They say these distributors have been improperly using their federal licenses and providing small town pharmacies across West Virginia with an abnormally large amount of pain killers. Criminal investigations have narrowed in on these 14 companies and while the Attorney General can't press criminal charges, they're accusing these companies of violating the state's Consumer Protection Act and are trying to ban them from doing business in the state.
The attorney general says the lawsuit won't affect anyone who legitimately needs pain medicine.
They also plan to get money from the pill distributors to help with drug treatment
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