Sept. 23, 2009 — A column by Myra Hogan
In this column I hope is to bring out some truths. I want to share information I have gathered on the illegal drug trade within our county, as well as use of Bible verses as I go along.
I would say I apologize if you find this offensive – but I can’t do that. Truth is truth and that’s just who I am. This is a column on an OPINION page. Like any other opinion, it’s yours to take or reject.
For some time I have been gathering information from various sources on the fast cash, easy money operation of the illegal organized drug trade that is so prevalent in Carter County.
And, just how organized is the crime of drug dealing in our county?
Would we be surprised if we knew it all?
I have heard of prescriptions for various amounts of pills that local residents go to Florida, Ohio and some other states to fill – and then sell to all those who allow themselves to be lured into the habit and/or business.
For $200 cash and a MRI, pain clinics will write prescriptions for a varied amount of painkillers and Xanax.
Let’s do some math as we come up with some examples.
• First example:
A patient may get a monthly prescription from one doctor for 240 Roxycodone 30 mg. (eight a day). Then, for what pain clinic physicians refer to as “breakthrough pain” the patient may get a prescription for 120 Roxycodone 15mg. Next, there’s a prescription for up to 240 Xanax 2 mg (candy bars).
If we round off the retail price of the Roxycodone to $1 a pill and the Xanax to 30¢ each, we can figure an estimate of what the medicine will cost.
$240 – Roxy 30s
$120 – Roxy 15s
$72 – Xanax
$300 – doctor bill and travel
(The $300 is estimated for the doctor bill and trip to doctor. Most people have previously acquired MRIs through their insurance).
If the patient sells the pills at a price of $30 for Roxy 30s, $15 for Roxy 15s, and the Xanax 2 mg. for $6 – that adds up to:
Roxy 30s - $7,200
Roxy 15s - $1,800
Xanax 2 mg - $1,440
- $732 (cost)
- $9,708 (profit)
If the prescriptions are obtained in Florida, instead of Ohio, of course there is a little more expense for travel.
And, now we go on…
Let’s take this first example. The patient is making around $9,708 profit from his/her own prescriptions. If this person decides to sponsor other patients going to the doctor, this is what it may look like. He/she will pay for the doctor’s bill, the cost of getting them to the doctor and for their medicine. In return, he/she will receive half of the pills the sponsored person (mule) gets. We will pretend this person is sponsoring 20 patients. (Some dealers may sponsor fewer and some a great deal more.)
Cost per patient: $200 doctor bill; $432 for meds; and we’ll add $100 for cost getting to the doctor.
Cost per sponsored patient: $732.
The sponsor gets 1/2 of the pills – like this: 120 Roxycodone 30s, 60 Roxycodone 15s, and 120 Xanax 2 mg
He/she will sell his/her half for:
$3600 – Roxycodone 30s
$900 – Roxycodone 15s
$720 – Xanax 2 mg.
- $732 (costs)
- $4,488 (profit)
Then, $4,488 (profit) times 20 people = $89,760
So the patient/sponsor for example is making $9,708 on his personal prescriptions and $89,760 is made on the 20 people he/she is sponsoring, for a total of $99,468 a month.
Total: $99,468 - profit for self and sponsoring 20 people per month
A patient may get a monthly prescription from one doctor for 250 Oxycotin 80 mg. Then, for what pain clinic physicians refer to as “breakthrough pain” let’s say the patient gets a prescription for 120 Percocet 10 mg. And, let’s don’t forget the 240 Xanax 2 mg. (candy bars).
Oxycotin 80 mg will cost around $12 a pill retail. Percocet 10 mg. will cost about $1 a pill and the Xanax 2 mg. 30¢ a piece.
$3,000 – 250 Oxycotin 80 mg.
$120 – Percocet 10 mg.
$72 – Xanax 2 mg.
$300 – doctor bill and travel
If the patient sells the pills at the price of $80 a piece for Oxycotin 80 mg., $10 a piece for Percocet 10 mg., and $6 a piece for Xanax 2 mg. it will add up to:
Oxycotin 80s – $20,000
Percocet 10s - $1,200
Xanax 2 mg - $1, 440
= $19,148 (profit)
And, now we go on…
Let’s take this second example. The patient is making around $19,148 profit from his/her own prescriptions. If this person decides to sponsor other patients going to the doctor, this is what it may look like. He/she will pay for the doctor’s bill, the cost of getting them to the doctor and for their medicine. In return, he/she will receive half of the pills the sponsored person (mule) gets. We will pretend this person is also sponsoring 20 patients.
Cost per patient: $200 doctor bill; $3,192 for meds; and we’ll add $100 for cost getting to the doctor.
Cost per sponsored patient: $3,492
The sponsor gets 1/2 of the pills – like this:125 Oxycotin 80s, 60 Percocet 10s, and 120 Xanax 2 mg
He/she will sell his/her half for:
$10,000 – Oxycotin 80s
$600 – Percocet 10s
$720 – Xanax 2 mg.
- $3,492 (costs)
= $7,828 (profit)
Then, $7,828 (profit) times 20 people = $156,560
So the patient/sponsor for example makes $19,148 on his personal prescriptions and $156,560 is made on the 20 people he/she is sponsoring, for a total of $175,708 a month.
Total: $175,708 - profit for self and sponsoring 20 people per month
Prices on medicine and costs to the doctor will vary according to where the medicine is bought and where the trips to the doctor were made. Also, into play is how many pills the sponsor is using himself/herself, if they are addicted. Don’t forget any protection payments coming out of this. Pills may cost a little more at some locations for the perk of not having them posted with KASPER. (I hear there are loopholes.)
And, there is doctor shopping, where patients will travel to different doctors within one state or go to doctors in different states. That can produce a much higher profit for the patient who visits more than one doctor a month.
I won’t go into it now, but of course, there is also the dealing in heroin, cocaine, marijuana and other illegal substances, where much more money is made.
A person in a business advertises and does what he/she can to get others to purchase their products and/or services.
With this concept being so, would it not be profitable for the illegal drug dealers to “drum up” business?
With that in mind – we get a better look at why the young and vulnerable get drawn in.
After all, there’s the supply and demand reality.
How could one keep making the kind of money one is making if there are no users to buy. And, as more people realize the amount of profit available, more “pushers” seem to arise on the scene and want in on the action. Therefore, more people are needed to partake in the destructive habit to keep the business good.
So then, people just become more as their father satan is, no conscience and hard-hearted, not caring who becomes victim, be they old, young, a pauper or king, they are a target. No one is excluded as prey.
“But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea,” Matthew 18:6
If you had a job where you were making many thousands a month and people were doing things to try to take that income away from you – wouldn’t you be angry?
Wouldn’t you want to fight back and stop their efforts or progress? After all, they are attacking the way you have to make good money.
That’s why tempers flare, lies are told and threats are made when anyone attempts to hamper the “fast cash” business of the drug mafia today.
When the stacks of $100 and $1,000 bills are stacked high in front of people who are in positions of power and authority, to pay for their illegal businesses’ protection, just how tempting is that?
How loud the money talks to each individual will be in accordance to what’s in his/her heart. (As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.)
This year, one call received at our news office told of a reported overdose victim. The (unidentified) caller said the person did not overdose – but was forcibly overdosed so the parties involved could take the person’s pills and money. The caller also stated he knew who did it and that this event had happened before.
Has the corruption intensified to murder in our county?
All of our choices in life, whether good or bad, will have corresponding consequences.
As in sewing seeds in a garden, whatever you sew – is what you’ll harvest.
Can we each ask ourselves this question? What in our lives have we allowed to become god (something that is so important that it takes over somebody’s life) above the God of our creation?
The first commandment God gave is “You shall have no other gods before me.” Deuteronomy 5:7
No wonder the Bible states that the love of money is the ROOT of all evil. Not, money is evil – but the LOVE of money is the ROOT of all evil.
So, if you are selling drugs illegally and you are beginning to realize how wrong it is - then stop! All things are possible to him who believes. Remember, there will come a payday – sooner or later.
The Bible says satan is a liar and the father of lies. Have you been deceived or bewitched into selling yourself out to the enemy of your soul?
2 Peter 3:9 The Lord… is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
I’ll conclude with some words to a song that tells the story…
Lord I've seen a world that's dying, wounded by the master of deceit
Groping in the darkness, haunted by the years of past defeat
But when I see you standing near me, shining with compassion in Your eyes
I pray Jesus shine down on me, let your love shine through me in the night.
To all, I pray you will give Him the opportunity to let His love become real in your life.
FOR YOUR INFORMATION...
Prescribed for moderate to severe pain, Percodan is the brand name for a combination of two pain-killing drugs, the narcotic oxycodone and aspirin. Percocet combines oxycodone and acetaminophen. Both are in a class of opioids that includes morphine, heroin, Demerol and others. It works by blocking pain signals from the brain and spinal cord. Available in tablet, capsule, and liquid form, it is taken every 6 hours by mouth.
Side effects: Sleepiness or dizziness, nausea or vomiting and constipation. People taking the drug should avoid alcohol or any other medications containing aspirin or acetaminophen.
Maker: Knoll Pharmaceutical
Vicodin is the brand name of an opioid analgesic similar to heroin and morphine. One of the most frequently prescribed medications for moderate to severe pain such as migraines, back pain and cancer, Vicodin's active ingredients are hydrocodone bitartrate and acetaminophen, which work on pain receptors in the brain. It can become physically addictive after only several weeks of use. In fact, it is one of the top 20 most abused controlled substances in the United States, according to drug addiction researchers. It is an older drug than OxyContin and is effective for only a 3-4 hour period. Chronic use of opioids can result in tolerance, which means that users must take higher doses to achieve the same effects.
Side effects: Dizziness, drowsiness, lightheadedness, constipation, nausea, or vomiting. Some doctors assert that abuse of Vicodin can cause hearing loss.
Maker: Purdue Pharma L.P.
Known as the 'hillbilly heroin,' OxyContin is the brand name for an opioid analgesic prescribed for chronic moderate to severe pain. Its active ingredient Oxycodone is more potent than hydrocodone and has a greater potential for abuse. Oxycodone is also found in at least 45 other drugs on the market, including Percocet. Since hitting the U.S. market in 1996, OxyContin has become one of the most popular -- and most abused -- medical painkillers. More than 7.2 million prescriptions were dispensed in 2001, according to the company. It is a time-released narcotic, which provides continuous relief for up to 12 hours. (However, if snorted up the nose or shot (banged) intravenously, it is not time-released and dangerous for overdosing.)
ROXICODONE® or Roxycodone (oxycodone hydrochloride tablets USP) is an opioid analgesic.
Each tablet for oral administration contains 5 mg, 15 mg or 30 mg of oxycodone hydrochloride USP.
The 5 mg, 15 mg and 30 mg tablets contain the equivalent of 4.6 mg, 13.5 mg and 27.0 mg, respectively, of oxycodone free base.
Generic Name: alprazolam
Brand Names: Niravam, Xanax
Xanax is in a group of drugs called benzodiazepines. It affects chemicals in the brain that may become unbalanced and cause anxiety.
Xanax is used to treat anxiety disorders, panic disorders, and anxiety caused by depression.
What is KASPER? The Kentucky All Schedule Prescription Electronic Reporting System (KASPER) tracks controlled substance prescriptions dispensed within the state. A KASPER report shows all scheduled prescriptions for an individual over a specified time period, the prescriber and the dispenser. Enhanced KASPER (eKASPER) provides Web-based access to KASPER data.
How do I recognize a prescription drug problem?
Prescription drug addiction warning signs include:
Physical: Fatigue, repeated health complaints, red and glazed eyes, and a lasting cough
Emotional: Personality change, sudden mood changes, low self-esteem, irritability, irresponsible behavior, poor judgment, depression, general lack of interest,
Family: Starting arguments, breaking rules, withdrawing from the family
School or Work: Decreased interest, negative attitude, many absences, truancy, visiting many doctors
Social Problems: New anti-social friends, problems with the law, withdrawal from friends
If you need immediate assistance, contact: Substance Abuse Hot Line (888) 729-8028
Sept. 23, 2009 — A column by Myra Hogan
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