Parents, beware: prescription drug abuse comes to DeWitt

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By Shane Jones
The Bath-DeWitt Connection Staff Reporter

DEWITT — In the quiet town of DeWitt, there is not too much to talk about. Upon your first glance the small city of DeWitt looks just like every small city. A very calming place, with trees, parks, and houses that sit way back on driveways as long as a football field.

But, just like everywhere else in the world, there is crime.

Flash back to last month when three Michigan residents were arrested for prescription drug abuse. According to the Chief of Police in DeWitt, Bruce Ferguson, three residents were allegedly a part of a much bigger drug ring that would impersonate doctors, submitting fake prescriptions and defrauding the Michigan Medicaid Program.

Prescription drug abuse is becoming a very known subject in America and it does not have an age requirement.
Young teenagers are involved and in DeWitt, and there have been other similar cases.

“The United States is in the middle of a national epidemic of problems attributable to prescribing of opioid medicines, primarily for legitimate pain relief. The situation was made worse when sustained release forms of commonly used opioid pain relievers such as hydrocodone and oxycodone were brought into the marketplace in the 1990s,” Michigan State University professor of epidemiology and biostatistics James Anthony said.

Ferguson said he is trying to help educate the young people of DeWitt.

“What they [doctors] do not tell you is that these drugs are addictive. Everybody is recognizing that prescription drugs are a problem. We are now averaging more drug overdoses than fatal car accidents. We come into the schools with programs to educate kids to make the right decisions,” Ferguson said.

The rise of this disturbing trend here is proof that drugs are not simply a big-city problem.

“There is no reason to think that the personal and social conditions that give rise to opioid or stimulant problems are less common in rural America as compared to urban American communities. The central questions we work on involve prevention and control,” Anthony said.

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