DEA warns of black market pills... little pills, big problems

    Fox 29 San Antonio

    Black market prescription drugs are showing their ugly heads right here in San Antonio. The Drug Enforcement Administration or DEA tells us that many of those buying the black market pills are everyday people who became addicted after an injury.

    "A black market created usually by injury or surgeries.... a black market for prescription meds sold by the pill but can be a deadly purchase if mixed with other drugs," said Dante Sorianello, DEA agent.

    Little pills causing big problems. The black market for prescription meds is fed by stolen pills, stolen prescription scripts, people who need to make a quick buck and sell their own prescription medications.

    "Maybe a physician who is over prescribing to somebody and then getting some sort of kickback from that, that's probably a little bit more of the rare-er of a physician getting a kickback from over-prescribing," said Sorianello.

    Black Market prescription drugs are sold in various ways in a much different style.

    "You're going to see them sold maybe as an individual pill, maybe as a bottle of 20 or 25 and on exceptional circumstances we have seen it where they're selling thousands of them at a time... and that could be sold in a parking lot, in a classroom, anywhere when you're dealing with something like that," said Sorianello.

    And like other drugs, opioid addiction is usually the result of a physical ailment.

    "There are individuals who become addicted for this, not by choice, but because their recovering from some sort of injury, or surgery, or something and now they were not properly weaned off of the narcotics," said Sorianello.

    Not difficult to believe after looking at data collected by the Centers for Disease Control or CDC. In our area, Atascosa county, 84 out of 100 people have a prescription for opioids, that's just under one prescription per person.

    "That's a shockingly high number!" said DA Audrey Gossett Louis.

    Audrey Gossett Louis is the District Attorney for the 81st Judicial District which includes, Atascosa, Frio, Karnes, La Salle, and Wilson counties. She says that its not unusual to see people arrested with meth to have some opioids but not in large quantities.

    "We have had cases where we have nurses who steal prescription pads become addicted or work in nursing home and steal them from the elderly," said Louis.

    Louis admits she doesn't know if those with those prescriptions are taking them or if the illegal sale of the opioids is going undetected. Whatever the case is, the DEA says this opiod epidemic will affect people from any class status, any race and any age.

    "It's killing a lot of people as you know over 70,000 people last year died from drug overdoses and the majority of that being opioids," said Sorianello.

    Please join us Thursday (January 10) as we dig deeper into the opioid crisis through "Your Voice, Your Future," a town hall live from Laredo featuring national experts and families impacted by drug abuse. CLICK HERE to learn more...

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