Alabama officials have recently begun raiding clinics in another attempt to stunt the growing problem of prescription drug abuse throughout the state.
The Montgomery Advertiser and WBRC News 6 both report that the raids began on May 20, after a long period of investigations into clinics throughout several southern states.
Before the investigation, called Operation Pilluted, 140 people were arrested for their connections with prescription drug abuse. The most recent raids in Alabama, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Mississippi are expected to result in nearly 170 additional arrests.
Alabama Governor Robert Bentley has been a prominent figure in the process, stating that there are some doctors abusing their abilities to write prescriptions, and that Alabama has begun cracking down on drug abuse by starting at the root of the problem — i.e., the doctors who are abusing their own privileges.
Operation Pilluted has been ongoing for at least a year, according to the Montgomery Advertiser, and has been just one of the many prescription drug abuse investigations undertaken by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
The recent raids have been focused on southern states, but it’s important to note that abuse of controlled medications, specifically stimulants and pain killers, is widespread throughout the nation.
Considering that at any given time, over 48% of Americans have consumed at least one prescription drug within the past 30 days, it’s not surprising that prescription drug abuse is so commonplace. Prescriptions may not be the most cost-effective or the most potent substances, but the accessibility to Rx medications seems to have increased their popularity.
According to a recent article from NBC News, a 2009 National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that around 70% of Americans have misused prescription drugs intentionally, and 95% of people who have abused drugs received them from a friend, relative, or doctor — surprisingly, only 5% of prescription drug abuse cases involve obtaining the medication from a drug dealer or stranger.