Prescription painkiller abuse is rampaging towns all over the United States. In the state of Wyoming, they have seen dramatic increases in cases involving prescription painkiller abuse. The problem has created an epidemic of addicts in the state that will do whatever they can to obtain the drugs in order to not go through withdrawals. Police have been doing everything in their power to crack down on the prescription painkiller abuse in the state but it is not a simple issue.
There are so many variables when it comes to investigating prescription drug abuse. Many patients are prescribed these medications for legit ailments. In the town of Sheridan, Wyoming they have seen first-hand how difficult it is to press charges in cases of individuals stealing opiates from friends and family. Due to the fact that the crime of stealing pills from friends are hardly ever reported to police as missing or stolen. These drugs then end up in the wrong hands and begin the process of being abused.
The sheriff in Sheridan, Dave Hofmeier explains that he has noticed an increase in the prescription abuse in the county but at the same time he worries that not all of the cases of prescription abuse get reported. Besides the normal cases where house sitters or neighbors steal prescription pills, the other cases where teenagers are abusing these drugs at parties and taking them from parents rarely get reported and are instead handled in the privacy of the home. In some ways this is ok, but if the problem is not taken seriously or handled properly you may have an addict being created and this will lead to much larger problems in the not so distant future.
Wyoming’s number of prescriptions sold is pretty low in comparison to the rest of the country, but it does however have the 15th highest number of overdoses in America. So although there are not a lot of prescriptions sold, the percentage of those sold leading to an overdose are very high. In Sheridan County, Sheriff Hofmeier deals with mostly cases involving those between the ages of 20-30. The police department has not seen any particular age groups more likely to commit crimes than others.
“Prescription drug abuse seems to be popular throughout the whole spectrum of any age group that would abuse narcotics in general because they are easily available,” Sheridan Police Department Lt. Tom Ringley said.