You’ve heard of American senior citizens traveling to Canada for cheaper prescription drugs, but you may not have heard that Americans are venturing south for prescription painkillers. Drug dealers discovered easy access to pain medications like Vicodin, Percocet, and OxyContin in Florida. This issue plagues many states, particularly Ohio, because of the rise in drug overdose deaths. Recently, we reported that “fatal drug overdoses in Ohio shot up 335 percent between 1999 and 2009.” And as we mentioned earlier today, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently reported that drug overdoses have surpassed car accidents as the leading cause of accidental death in Ohio, Florida, Kentucky and Utah.
So where are Ohio residents getting their hands on painkillers without a prescription? Until recently, 6,000 painkillers could be found in the false exhaust system that convicted Ohio drug dealer Gerald Dixon installed beneath his car. According to USA Today, Dixon was just one of many people involved in an underground drug trafficking scheme that spanned several states across the U.S. Dixon sold various medications up to 10 times their price.
Dixon, who often told doctors he was in pain from years of playing sports, trafficked painkillers for many years before he was caught mid-drug deal and sentenced to four years in prison in 2008. Dixon reportedly said that a diagnosis for any type of severe pain was easy to obtain because the only thing that many Florida clinics cared about was money.
“You go, you pay the money, and they're going to come back and say, 'Yeah, you're right, you was hurt,’” he told the Associated Press.
Likewise, money was the only thing Dixon cared about, and his business brought in tens of thousands of dollars every month.
While drug prosecutors are cracking down on Floridian pill mills, Georgia is experiencing an unexpected rise in them. As many as 150 have popped up throughout the state. According to USA Today, none of these pill mills even existed in the state three years ago.
Families of prescription drug overdose victims probably want to know when the U.S. government will start to enforce strict regulations for pain management clinics throughout the country.