Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) officials raided a Chalmette, Louisiana, pharmacy about 10 miles east of New Orleans reportedly for dispensing opioids at a rate that was “off the charts,” making it one of the highest-prescribing pharmacies in the state, according to The Advocate.
DEA authorities issued seizure warrants at Wilkinson Family Pharmacy and arrest warrants for the pharmacy’s owner Keith Wilkinson, and business partner. The agency worked in conjunction with the Sheriff’s office.
The operation comes as neighboring New Orleans experienced a surge in accidental overdose deaths in 2016, for the first time surpassing murders in the parish. The problem has grown in epidemic proportions nationally, prompting increased efforts by federal, state and local agencies to crackdown on the illegal sale of prescription painkillers.
Since 1999, the number of overdose deaths due to prescription opioids and heroin quadrupled, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). “Prescription opioid overdoses are a driving factor in the 15-year increase in opioid overdose,” the agency reported. “Yet there has not been an overall change in the amount of pain that Americans report.”
Prescription opioids include drugs like oxycodone, hydrocodone and methadone. They are prescribed to treat moderate-to-severe pain following surgery or injury, or for health conditions such as cancer. In addition to risks of addition, abuse and overdose, opioid side effects include increased tolerance resulting in the need to take more for the same pain relief, and physical dependence resulting in withdrawal symptoms when the medication is stopped.
Source: The Advocate