ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOX) As you’ve heard on KMOX in recent weeks, prescription pain pill abuse is now considered an epidemic in this country.
Now federal officials suspect powerful narcotics are making it onto the streets of St. Louis under the cover of “pain clinics”.
“This is exactly how many of these dealers get the pills to sell them on the streets.”
They’re called “pill mills” — clinics prescribing painkillers without a valid medical purpose. “As long as you have cash or a credit card to pay, you’re going to get what you want,” explains Scott Collier with the Drug Enforcement Administration in St. Louis.
They’ve spread from Florida to other states, including Missouri. Collier tells KMOX News he got very few calls about them in the past, “we are now being called weekly by pharmacists and others who are seeing patterns of behavior that seem to indicate something illicit is going on in a certain clinic or practice.” He adds the agency is conducting a number of investigations in Missouri.
Collier does stress that by far, most physicians are responsible about how they prescribe pain pills, but he says the small number who sign up at these pill mills often get an economic incentive for passing out prescriptions.
Some customers are addicts looking for their next high. “You also have some folks who are organizing groups, simply for the purpose of hitting multiples of these clinics and going from town to town in order to get a large quantity that they then bring back to their local community and simply sell.” Collier says one pill can sell for as much as $25 in the St. Louis area.
Tuesday on KMOX hear from one local police chief about what he’s seeing.
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