Prescription Pads Play a Key Role in Drug Abuse

For decades, the small pads of paper used to write prescriptions have been an iconic part of every doctor's office. Now these seemingly innocent tablets are assuming a more sinister role. According to drug enforcement officials, stolen and forged prescription pads are at the heart of the current epidemic of prescription drug abuse.  In some recent cases, such as that of Dr. Lisa Barden of Rancho Cucamonga, doctors have stolen prescription pads from other doctors and used them to obtain highly addictive painkillers like OxyContin and Vicodin. In other cases, pads are printed by counterfeiters. Many law enforcement officials and lawmakers see paper prescriptions as an old fashioned mechanism that encourages fraud. Prescription pads are in high demand on the black market; law enforcement officials report that drug dealers will pay up to $400 for a stolen prescription drug pad. Up until seven years ago, California required doctors to create triple copies of prescriptions. That requirement was dropped when "tamper-proof" forms were introduced, but criminals soon found ways to…

Continue Reading

OxyContin Ring Sells 1 Million Pills on the Street

In Los Angeles, 14 people have been charged with running a scheme to obtain OxyContin pills through insurance fraud and distribute them on the street for millions of dollars in profits. The drug distribution ring included two doctors and the operators of a clinic owned by Lake Medical Group.  Members of the ring are suspected of reselling more than 1 million OxyContin pills on the street. According to federal officials, the clinic's doctors wrote fraudulent prescriptions for the powerful painkiller and billed Medicare and Medical.  Most of the prescriptions were written for patients who did not need a painkiller. Members of the ring are also alleged to have committed identity theft and used stolen Medicare beneficiary information to obtain OxyContin.  Among those charged were Dr. Morris Halfnon, aged 88, Dr. Eleanor Santiago, aged 73, and pharmacist Theodore Yoon. The clinic used recruiters, referred to as "cappers," who offered Medicare and Medi-Cal patients up to $500 to fill prescriptions for OxyContin at local pharmacies, including Yoon's.  Runners escorted patients to…

Continue Reading

Doctor Faces 230-year Sentence for Prescription Drug Dealing

In today's changing climate of addiction, where prescription drug abuse has surpassed illegal drug abuse, the drug dealers are often members of the medical profession. This again became evident this week in a Los Angeles federal courtroom when Dr. Nazar Al Bussum pled guilty to drug distribution charges. The 72-year-old geriatric physician, who lives in the exclusive community of Newport Coast but operated clinics in Downy and Los Angeles, could be sentenced to as many as 230 years in prison and fined up to $11.5 million. Al Bussum is charged with writing prescriptions for narcotic painkillers, codeine cough syrup and anti-anxiety medication for patients who had no medical need for the drugs. The majority of the prescriptions were for oxycodone, hydrocodone and Xanax – all highly addictive substances. Federal prosecutors estimate that he wrote more than 60,000 prescriptions between 2007 and 2010, making as much as $1 million per year by prescribing drugs that often ended up being sold on the street. Federal investigators targeted Al Bussum after his…

Continue Reading

Teen Heroin Use Rising in Los Angeles Suburbs

According to an article written by the LA Times, the heroin use in Glendale and La Crescenta is rising as LA based gangs make their way into these suburbs and educate and give away the drug to users who are “at risk”of addiction and overdose. Per the Glendale Police, all drug related offenses that were investigated in the Crescenta Valley during the month of January were attributed to heroin. This comes at a time when a variety of factors is leading the nation’s youths and young adults into a dangerous love affair with opiates and other drugs like ecstasy, inhalants, meth.   The factors are as disparate as prescription drug legislation and the geopolitical climate that affects Afghanistan (the source of much of the world’s heroin).  The global economy and the United State’s proximity to Mexico also have an influence on this “perfect storm” for heroin overdose (read an article about Three Unlikely Partners in Crime: Afghanistan, Mexico, and Prescription Drugs Manufacturers). Why is this relevant to our StopOxy.com blog?…

Continue Reading