N.Y. prosecutor blames doctors for painkiller epidemic

A New York prosecutor is pointing the finger of blame at doctors for the prescription drug and heroin epidemic that has devastated the region, saying they overprescribed powerful painkillers – sometimes to known addicts, the Wall Street Journal reports. Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota said a grand jury report found that between 2001 and 2011, the percentage of drug-sale arrests related to prescription drugs in Suffolk increased to 17.4% from 1.5%, while intoxicated driving incidents linked to prescription drugs rose to 48% last year, up from 15% in 2001, according to the WSJ.

The grand jury was convened last year following the quadruple homicide that occurred at a Medford, N.Y. pharmacy.

New York has suffered brutally at the hands of the prescription drug addiction epidemic. Prescriptions for oxycodone in New York rose by 82 percent from 2007 to 2010, according to a recent report issued by the state’s attorney general. Almost 22.5 million prescriptions for all types of narcotic painkillers were written in the state in 2010, with an especially high quantity of prescriptions being written on Staten Island and in large areas of Suffolk County, the report says.

In January, Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., called on the DEA to share data collected on pharmaceutical and prescription drug theft with local law enforcement. That move came in the wake of a deadly pharmacy robbery on New Year’s Eve in Seaford, N.Y.

Read more about New York’s painkiller addiction troubles here and here.

About Erin Marie Daly

I’m a freelance journalist based in San Francisco. My book on prescription drug and heroin addiction was published in August 2014 by Counterpoint Press.
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