Fatal OD's Soaring

By: Jillian Risberg Email
By: Jillian Risberg Email

"The prescription narcotics here are of epidemic proportions," says Sgt. Greg Collins of the Parkersburg Police Department. "The whole state of West Virginia, especially the southern part of West Virginia have an enormous amount of pharmaceutical pill abuse."

The numbers are staggering, prescription drug deaths surpass heroin and cocaine combined.

"We get so many crimes that are related to pills; we've got a lot of people driving on our roads under the influence of prescription drugs, we have people working in the workplace that are under the influence of prescription drugs," Collins says.

Keep a close eye on your personal items.

"We have to caution people that are selling houses and having open houses," Collins says. "You need to not have your prescription drugs in your medicine cabinet 'cause people will come in for an open house to get in to your house and steal your prescription narcotics."

There's a stranger in the house.

"Instances where people have woke up in the middle of the night and saw a person not known to them crawling across the floor towards their nightstand in an effort to get their prescription medication," Collins says. "That has happened on more than one occasion."

For some, it's hard to believe there's a problem here because they don't see people wandering the streets in a fog.

"When you're walking around here conducting business and you're going to school, you don't see these drug zombies out here walking around the streets," Collins says. "We don't have that kind of problem."

The prescription drug problem often flies under the radar, yet officers wage war on it everyday.

"Our officers and undercover agents are fighting this battle deep in these neighborhoods on the streets, trying to check 'em coming across the bridges," Collins says.

The goal of law enforcement across the region remains the same.

"Trying to keep this valley someplace that's good for families and good for business and we've been able to accomplish that," Collins says.


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