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Thursday, December 29, 2011

What Some of the Public Says About Closing Pill Mills


December 20, 2011. Attorney General Mike DeWine, the Ohio Board of Pharmacy, and Scioto County officials have shut down the last pill mill in the county, as law enforcement agents served search warrants at the Greater Medical Advance clinic, the clinic doctor's residence, and the clinic owner's residence.

What a great day in Scioto County for the 
Scioto Rx Drug Action Team, 
SOLACE, and so many other people 
who have fought hard to end drug abuse!

Greater Medical Advance Doctor

Of course, there are always people who will disagree. Let's look at some of the actual comments posted in reaction to the AP news story about the closure of the final pill mill in Scioto County.

Comment One: 

"Just make all this stuff legal. No matter what the 'law' is, if people want it, they will get it. It'll cut down on government expenses, cut the people in prison by about 1/2, and generate more tax revenue. People will always be addicts no matter what the government and all these 'holy,' 'faithful' people think or want."

My Reaction: 

This is the age-old "there will always be drugs and addicts" argument. I guess if people want nuclear weapons, and some terrorists do want nuclear weapons, they will get them, no matter the protective measures. Sit back and fiddle while Rome burns?

For the reader's information, the drugs in the Pill Mills are legal; that is, they are legal if a qualified pain management doctor in good standing distributes them legally after making a thorough examination of the patient and then practices a safe pain management program that helps alleviate the problem. Pill mills care little about management of pain or about human life. They thrive on profit and excess distribution, which is usually sold to those addicted to the substances. 

And, cut down on expenses? 

Addiction is tremendously costly. According to Gary Becker and Kevin M. Murphy, in a report on addiction from the University of Chicago, addiction is an difficult topic for economists to undertake and measure, but because of the estimated $590 billion dollar price tag that addiction costs America each year, economists can’t help but take notice.
 
In addition, according to estimates from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, a combined $276 billion was spent or lost in 2005 on health care, lost productivity, premature death, crime and auto accidents relating to alcohol and drug abuse. Roughly 75 percent of all that money was paid for by public sources, which means American taxpayers are footing three quarters of the bill. With 117 million taxpayers in the U.S., this means that the average amount paid by each individual taxpayers amounted to approximately $1,800. (http://www.cliffsidemalibu.com/interesting/economyofaddiction.htm)

Comment Two: 

"This (closing of Pill Mills) really doesn't matter. Florida, Kentucky, Maryland, and Missouri -- its all too easy to get pills. And it's not just like 1 medication. You get 6 and can quadruple your money on the streets. Maybe if the government didn't make it so lucrative, no one would do it."

My Reaction: 

Here is the Government-Sponsored Drug Addiction Theory. 

So, the government sets the prices on street drugs? This theory has people believe the government controls distribution through enforcement, and since the supply of illegal drugs dwindles with proper enforcement, prices on the street go up. The drug black markets, drug cartels, and simple user supply/demand economics actually control drug prices. Enforcement takes steps to maximize public safety.

Making huge amounts of money illegally is the criminal's dream. He feels no moral responsibility himself to protect others. The dealer distributes poison to his customers and justifies his actions by believing that as long as he, himself, didn't make his client ingest the product, he is not responsible for any physical or mental harm that results. 

Such criminals have no conscience. Six times or five times or two times the profit matters only because of the amount of greed within those who operate the drug business -- their bloodstained profits depend upon abusing as many customers as possible. Some even have the nerve to call their trade free enterprise.

Comment Three:  

"The War on Drugs is just an excuse to help justify and fund the Police State that we are becoming. They (the police) especially love the "automatic confiscation" clauses where they take your home, automobiles, bank accounts, and all other valuable things you might have, so that you cannot properly afford to defend yourself with a good lawyer. They also love to taser, beat, shoot, and abuse suspects before they have even been judged in court. Our so-called 'American freedom' is rapidly disappearing!"

My Reaction:  

This is the popular "America is a police state" stance. People who believe this often point to laws enacted to benefit the general public and complain somehow that the police, not lawmakers and officials they elect, have created these rules in order to put their boots on the neck of the public.  "Police state" believers often confuse progress with loss of freedom.

I guess the "police state" believers expect criminals to be allowed to use confiscated drug money to "buy" lawyers that excel in getting "not guilty" verdicts. In fact, the War On Drugs Asset Forfeiture laws allow the police and/or government to hold onto items/property/real estate if the owner is engaged in illegal activities (like if they used their car to transport cocaine).  

The items that are not returned are usually put up for auction to the highest bidder. The money made from the auction goes to the police, local government, and a drug-enforcement fund (used to support the drug enforcement teams). 

Incidents involving the use of excessive force by the police frequently receive attention from the media, legislators, and, in some instances, civil and even criminal courts. Whether the excessive force is aberrant behavior of individual officers or is a pattern and practice of an entire law enforcement agency, both the law and public opinion condemn such incidents. 

Bad cops do exist just as bad babysitters, bad parents, and bad doctors do exist. They must be punished. But, the statistics speak to the lack of prevalence concerning police brutality:
  • Among all calls for service, force was used by the police less than 1 percent of the time, according to a study examining police use of force in 1999 and 2000. (International Association of Chiefs of Police, 2001. Police Use of Force In America.) 
  • The complaint rate for police use of force was 6.6 complaints per 100 sworn officers, according to a study of large law enforcement departments. Of these complaints, 92 percent had insufficient evidence to take disciplinary action against the officer. (Hickman, M.J., 2006. Citizen complaints about police use of force: Organizational, administrative, and environmental correlates. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Criminology, Los Angeles, CA, November 1, 2006.)

As far as my view of police brutality, I usually find that the people who complain about excessive force by the police are the same people who, in their own times of need for enforcement and protection, complain about the police reacting with too little force to alleviate the danger of their situations. They want to write laws according to their own needs. Personal concepts of "law and order" are very subjective.

Comment Four:  

"So a clinic writes out an enormous amount of prescriptions, pharmacies fill the orders and nobody higher up on the pill chain sees any red flags? Not the pharmaceutical sales person, drug industry...etc no one? hmmmm"

My Reaction: 

These "red flags" have been waving for many years now. If the public doesn't react swiftly and apply pressure to our congresspeople to investigate, re-evaluate and make needed changes to the manner in which Big Pharma conducts business, the drug abuse epidemic will continue to grow. We need help from the federal government, and we need it now to be, in the least bit, proactive. Needless deaths continue each day because of apathy.

Greater Medical Advance Owner

Aaron Haslam, the painkiller drug czar for Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine. likened the fight against pill mills to squeezing a balloon.

"They're going to find ways to make money," he said. "If it's not in Scioto County, they're going to go to another county in Ohio or they're going to go to Kentucky, to Indiana, to Pennsylvania, to Florida, to whatever state will allow them to do this until they're policed and forced out."

I am proud to say Scioto County has tightly squeezed the hell out of the Pill Mill balloon. I just pray the foul contents of the sphere do not escape and begin to reek in other communities. In order to save these places from devastation, activists in our neighboring states must step up and ignite thousands of flames to extinguish the evil inherent in their trade.
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