Prescription drug abuse is at an all time high in Texas and across the country. Unlike other illegal controlled substances, prescription drugs usually enter the black market from a legitimate original source. In a case that’s getting a lot of interest, Parkland Health & Hospital may have been that “legitimate original source” for a large amount of prescription drugs on the streets of Dallas.
According to the Dallas Morning News, five pharmacy technicians and one supervising pharmacist lost their jobs in connection with prescription drug theft. Many of them are also faced charges of being involved in organized crime.
At least 370,000 tablets of various prescription drugs were unaccounted for at various branches of Parkland over a specific period of time in 2007. These drugs include Hydrocodone and Valium among others. The arrested technicians reportedly admit to stealing the drugs from their employer and selling them to street dealers.
Some are saying the entire investigation was mishandled because of the death of the lead investigator. The case sat in limbo for some years. The terminated pharmacist states “The Parkland police mishandled the whole thing.”
Despite his firing, this pharmacist did not face any charges and currently works for another pharmacy location.
More than likely, if we were discussing 370,000 units of heroin the case would have never fallen through the cracks. Despite growing problems with prescription drug abuse, cases involving it are often swept under the rug, whether intentionally or not.
However, being criminally charged with a prescription drug offense is no light matter. Most prescription drugs are considered a Penalty Group 3 substance with serious felony charges even just for possession. If you are caught with these drugs and you don’t have a legitimate prescription, you can face charges.
These substances are also becoming the drugs of choice for many teens. More than adults, teens minimize the dangers of prescription drugs, believing that they are somehow safer than common street drugs.