New Laws and Funding Will Fight Prescription Abuse

MARCH 01, 2005

The fight against sweeping prescription drug crimes received a big enhancement recently from new prescriptiontracking legislation and pharmaceutical diversion investigative squads in southwestern Ohio and northern Kentucky. Law enforcement officials believe that the developments are crucial to stemming the expanding illegal trade in and abuse of prescription drugs.

For example, in northern Kentucky, attempts to increase the ranks of those investigating pharmaceutical diversion crimes have taken shape with the creation of the area's only Pharmaceutical Diversion Unit in the Boone County Sheriff's Department. At the same time, the US Office of National Drug Control Policy gave federal funding for a specialized squad in Ohio, where 3 counties have been designated a High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA).

Under the new designation, a large portion of annual federal funding will go to battle prescription drug crime in the southwest Ohio HIDTA Pharmaceutical Diversion Initiative. The initiative's coordinator, Cmdr John Burke, director of the Warren County drug task force, said that it unites officers from 4 agencies to investigate and prosecute individuals who break the law. The new units, along with the anticipated signing of the Ohio prescription-trafficking law similar to Kentucky's law, are expected to make major gains against a crime that experts believe happens everywhere.