Drug deals aren’t always the ones depicted on a street corner in a movie.  Drug dealers aren’t always the ones dressed like ”thugs” that scare the average civilian.  Today’s drug deals take place in offices or schools with dealers having legitimate jobs, nice families, nice cars, and pay their taxes.  They are people we entrust our lives and well-being to.  They wear suits or white lab coats and are well educated.

Yes, I am speaking of Doctors.

The worst part is this is legal.  Nobody bats an eye at them because of who they are and what they do.  They are allowed to open practices called “pill mills”, which are places of operation where you pay cash and get any combination of pills you like.  All you need is to fax your files to them, no matter how mild of an injury you may have.

These circumstances started my opiate addiction, the reason I began taking pain pills in the first place.  It almost ended my life.  I have considered I might have gotten into drugs another way although I am not sure of that.  However, I am sure these doctors and “pill mills” were my “legal” way of obtaining these highly addictive drugs.  And I am not the only one who has suffered at the hands of pill mills.  They reach throughout the social strata and affect entire communities.

   I come from a small town in rural Appalachia; Portsmouth, Ohio.  Part of Scioto County, it is home to about 76,000 residents.  This area is known for its median low income and widespread drug use.  However, this was not always the case.  The area was once home to many thriving industries and businesses.  In the 1970’s, the town of Portsmouth alone had more than 35,000 residents, a steel mill, and was the center of commerce for about a 100 mile radius.  Today the town has less than 18,000 residents, with little to no industry left from the 70’s.  What happened for this much of a decline to occur?  The answer is very unfortunate…. pill mills and pain pills.  In 1995, Oxycontin hit the market and the industry of prescription pain killers skyrocketed.  The result was that communities started to collapse.

At the half-dozen or so pain clinics in Scioto County, a handful of licensed doctors pump out prescriptions for an estimated 35 million pain pills a year to an always growing number of addicted patients who come from all over the trip state area just to get their fix.  If you do the math, it comes to roughly 460 pills for every man, woman and child in that county. That is a scary number.  Things worsened to the point that in 2010, the local health commissioner declared a public health emergency, a rare occurrence usually reserved for disease outbreaks.  Lisa Roberts, a city of Portsmouth public-health nurse, says locals call it the “attack of the pill heads.”  She goes on to say that a “pharmaceutical atom bomb” brought the county to the “verge of complete social collapse”.  Statistics back up Roberts’ apocalyptic themed comments: the county has seen a 360 percent increase in accidental drug-overdose deaths and has the highest hepatitis C rate in Ohio, a rate that has nearly quadrupled in the past five years, attributable to the alarming spike in needle users.  Sixty-four Scioto County babies born in 2009 came into the world with drugs in their system… that’s nearly one in 10 births.  To make this problem worse, drug treatment centers say they are turning away thousands of addicts who need help for prescription-drug addiction because they simply don’t have the room for all of them.  The problem has gotten out of hand.

My trip to one of these pill mills consisted of walking in, paying my $275 cash, telling the doctor what I wanted, and walking out, pills in hand.  I was given 90 Oxycontin-30mg, 120 oxycontin-15mg, 90 xanax-2mg, and 90 soma-10mg.  I didn’t needs that many pills.  And I was only one of hundreds, maybe thousands of people who did the exact same thing.  The most ridiculous part is… it was legal, and it didn’t stop there.  Some of the people who were given the pills were turning around and selling some on the street, reaching thousands of other addicts.

This problem is not just a regional issue, it is a national issue.  A countless number of addicts have been doing this for quite some time.  The local, state, and federal governments have imposed sanctions against these “businesses”, slowing them down and stopping others.  The problem has gotten better since the governments have cracked down, but the damage still remains.  Thousands of people lost their lives, their families, their homes, and anything else that one can lose to addiction.  The communities affected still suffer, like the town of Portsmouth, Ohio.  If you go there, you will understand what I am referring to.

We know these doctors need to be stopped, something has to happen.  Communities must come together to combat this issue before it gets worse.  I know it is difficult for individuals who may feel they cannot stop people who have more weight and importance in the community, but banning together by reporting doctors who run pill mills (even anonymously), writing to community leaders insisting they act and encouraging schools and churches take an active role in drug education are just a few of the ways you can help.


Written By Guest Blogger Martin Glockner

2 Responses to “The Destruction of American Towns”

  1. fRAcTuReD says:

    I am from the small town of South Webster, about 13 miles from Portsmouth, and though I never personally went to one of the afore mentioned “pill mills”, I fell prey to the curse of addiction, as well, as did most all of my friends. In such a rural setting, where the economy is so strained, there was little else, so it seemed, to do but get high. I battled addiction for the better part of 10 years, and though I have gotten my demons in check, it seems, and been sober for a little over 5 years, it all came with a price. I lost almost everything I ever had, all the way down to feeling like i lost myself along the way. There are countless people who I consider my friends who weren’t so lucky, as they lost their battle with opiate abuse. I, personally, have overdosed, seen friends do the same, found friends dead, and spent many nights in the hospital as my friends fought for their lives, and ultimately lost their battle… I would never wish the horrors that I have experienced because of addiction on anyone…The struggle is real, and though I moved from Scioto county some years ago, I still find myself returning time and again to lay people I care for to rest…Most of the ones who lost their fight were not “thugs” or deadbeats. Many were young, seemingly lost, kids who got caught up in the lifestyle and never made it out. Unless you have been a part of the “game” you will never fully understand the pain and suffering that addiction brings…Please, I beg you, keep Scioto county in your thoughts/prayers. Pray that God, or whichever higher power you believe in, can help the community through this mess, and that somebody, somewhere, can help the lost find their way.

  2. Reginia says:

    This young man I know personally , he went to school with my children. Martin is telling the truth about this article he wrote, it’s very sad but true . If WE the people don’t take a stand no one will ever do so. So take a Stand Against Pill Mills starting today.

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