Weather Forecast


Cop talk: Prescription drug abuse is serious problem

What kinds of prescription drugs are being abused and what should I look out for?

Prescription drug abuse can be broken down into three primary categories.

The first category is opioids. Opioids are generally prescribed as a pain killer and include the common prescriptions such as oxycodone, oxycontin, hydrocodone, vicodin, percocet, morphine, codeine and fentanyl.

These prescriptions are sought after by abusers and are obtained by either their own prescriptions or through means of theft. Most of these prescriptions bring a high market value on the street with hydrocodone products bringing around $5 a pill and oxycodone going for as much as $40 to $80, depending on the tablet size.

Abuse of opioids can be done orally, crushing it up and injecting it, or by heating it up and inhaling the fumes. A dangerous by-product of opioids abuse is the trend of abusers searching for the next high to change the street drug heroin. Heroin, being a much stronger opioid, can and has caused many deaths from overdose.

The second category is classified as amphetamines. The prescriptions generally come under the name of adderall, ritalin, dextroamphetamine, and amphetamine salts.

They are generally prescribed for the treatment of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Amphetamines are categorized as a stimulant and work by speeding up the body system. They work in the treatment of ADHD by increasing the activity of dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain, which is normally imbalanced in ADHD patients.

We are starting to see a larger number of patients faking the ADHD symptoms to obtain these prescriptions.

The drugs are normally abused through oral ingestion or through crushing up and injecting. The street value of these pills depends on the size and averages about $4 per pill.

The dangers with amphetamine abuse comes in two forms. One being the long term affects of what it does to the body. The other more dangerous threat is that when amphetamine abusers go through withdrawal, there is a serious risk of suicide.

The third category would consist of sedative, hypnotic or anxiolytics. Those prescriptions are usually thought of as a depressant and include common names as xanax, valium, ativan, klonopin, restoril and rohypnol.

They are generally prescribed for the treatment of anxiety, insomnia and muscle spasms.

These prescriptions come in the form of pills, syrups and injectable liquids.

General danger of these depressants is the body's quick ability to gain a tolerance for these drugs, causing abusers to constantly need more of them to feel good or function normally. By doing so greatly increases the risk of coma or death.

Most of these in pill form on the street would go for around $2 to $4 a pill.

Prescription drug abuse is a very serious problem throughout the nation and also in our community. Any information you may have about the abuse of prescriptions or any drugs should be brought to the attention of your local law enforcement by calling (320) 763-6631.

If you have any questions you would like answered in "Cop Talk, Ask the Alexandria Police Department," or have other crime prevention and safety questions, e-mail or call (320) 763-6631.

• • •

The Alexandria Police Department and the Echo Press have teamed together to create "Cop Talk, Ask the Alexandria Police Department." Each article will feature an answer to a question from a reader, a safety tip or some timely topic. If you have a question about crime prevention or safety, send an e-mail to crimeprevention

Read Commissioners cross county line for health care for prescription news in Douglas County.