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Stumped NC Cops Pump Public On Prescription Drugs

Police plan to prise prescription drug abuse information from North Carolinians with an online questionnaire and a $25 gift card.

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By Jennifer Matesa

08/16/11

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A police force in prime hillbilly-heroin country is asking its community for clues on how prescription drugs get into the hands of non-legitimate users, it was reported yesterday. In response to increasing numbers of deaths from prescription drug abuse—including that of a 13-year-old this year—a Surry County, North Carolina, task force has designed an online survey, with the chance to win a $25 gift card for those who participate. It asks locals how they dispose of extra prescription drugs, whether they would notice drugs missing from their homes, and whether they know how to help people who are abusing prescription drugs. Police in Mt. Airy, NC, decided to spearhead the task force after the amount of prescription drugs they seized in arrests more than doubled—officers seized 2,055 dosage units last year, compared to 908 in 2009. They especially want to know how three classes of drugs come to be abused: Opioid painkillers such as Oxycontin, hydrocodone, Percocet and methadone; benzodiazepines such as Xanax and Valium; and stimulants such as Adderall and Ritalin. “We’ve got a lot of statistics about the magnitude of the problem,” said city police Lt. Jim Armbrister, “but where does the public stand?” The task force includes the county EMS, the county hospital and elected officials, as well as other law enforcement groups in the area.

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