Special Report: Prescription to addiction - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Special Report: Prescription to addiction

ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

It hasn't been around in large amounts since the 1970s, but just a few weeks ago drug agents say they made a drug bust that revealed a large amount of heroin.

Prescription pills are the hottest drug on the street right now.

They go for as much as $80 each, and it's a growing problem in Albany and South Georgia.

Drug agents say they mostly see oxycodone, oxycontin, and "hydros."

But heroin is making a comeback.

“Now we are starting to see significant heroin, and that's scary," said Major Bill Barry with the Albany-Dougherty Drug Unit.

But it's not just in Albany and Dougherty County.

“There are other cities here that are getting a lot more than we are,” said Sgt. Victor Camp with the drug unit.

Because pills are expensive, users are looking for a cheap alternative.

“They are putting themselves out of business,” explained Sgt. Berry.

With law makers putting new measures into place that make pills harder to get, heroin is convenient.

But make no mistake, pills aren't slowing down.

Already this year, drug agents have surpassed what they busted three years ago.

They confiscated 1,400 pills in just the past three months. That's more than they got for all of 2012.

If that trend continues, drug agents are on track to get double the amount they did last year.

And if pharmacies aren't careful, they can turn out to be the suppliers.

“People get addicted to those pain pills, and they start altering their prescriptions,” said Sgt. Camp.

Pharmacists can be busy, and so are the doctor's offices, which is why pharmacists say they pay close attention.

“We always do look carefully at narcotic prescriptions,” said Pharmacist Ed Dozier.

That's just one piece of a big puzzle.

Groups like the Sherwood Acres Neighborhood Watch are important as well, and they mean business.

“We all were concerned for our neighborhood,” said Doris Hines with the Neighborhood Watch.

“It's our job, and we are going to keep doing it,” said Craig Maples, with the Neighborhood Watch.

And they help combat all crime, including drugs.

“Drugs is a big part of it,” says City Commissioner BJ Fletcher.

They make sure criminals know they're not welcomed.

“We let them know,” said Hines.

And because of that crime in Sherwood Acres has gone down.

“The cut down in crime is owed to these people. They wanted to make a change,” said Sgt. William Henry, with the Crime Prevention Unit.

And that change can make a big difference as prescription pills lead to other drugs like heroin.

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