Prescription drug addiction in the south has given way to a new term, “pillbillies.”
A recent article in The Guardian UK profiled this growing group who travels to Florida regularly to score prescription painkillers, no questions asked.
One man they interviewed had come all the way from Kentucky, driving 16 hours overnight. He left the clinic clutching a prescription for 180 30 mg doses of oxycodone. While he insists he hurt his back when he fell off a roof, he shows no signs of injury, even after that long drive from his home state.
He is just one of thousands of “pillbillies,” according to The Guardian, who descend on Florida every year from across the south and east coast. They come from Kentucky, Georgia, Tennessee, even as far away as Ohio. Others come by the busload on the apocryphally named Oxycodone Express.
Is it about pain relief or profit? The man from Kentucky admits he paid just $275 to the doctor inside the clinic. He’ll then shell out $720 at a pharmacy for his 180 pills, spending just under $1,000 total. Back in Kentucky he can sell each pill for $30, giving them a street value of $5,400 and allowing Chad a clear profit of more than $4,000.
It’s no wonder these clinics have earned the nickname “pill mills.” They churn out patients and prescriptions at record speed, with each doctor seeing up to 100 people per day, adding up to more than $25,000 in daily income.
It’s easy to see how people get caught up in it. It’s also easy for all that money to blind them to the fact that there were 30,000 prescription drug overdoses in the US in 2009.
Prescription Drug Abuse
This abuse of pharmaceuticals has been dubbed “pharmageddon.” It’s stats like that which led to the White House declaring the abuse of prescription drugs the US’s fastest-growing drug problem. Determining just what should be done about this epidemic is far more difficult.
If you or someone you love is battling an addiction or co-occurring disorder, call The Oaks at La Paloma at our toll-free number. Someone is there to take your call 24 hours a day and answer any questions about you have about drug rehab, financing or insurance.
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