Federal and state law enforcement, as well as agencies that deal with drug abuse and addiction, are holding a one-day summit in Columbia Wednesday to talk specifically about prescription drug abuse.
“One of the best way to deal with almost any crime, and certainly crimes involving substance abuse, is you’ve got to deal with it both from a law enforcement perspective and a prevention perspective,” said U.S. Attorney Bill Nettles, who oversees federal prosecutions in South Carolina.
“We have seen a spike in the illegal use of prescription drugs, in the state. Thankfully we’re not at the level of a lot of states. So a part of this is to address the need we’ve got, and the other part is to educate those on potential problems that could happen if we don’t make an effort to get on top of this problem now.”
The U.S. Attorney says the one-day summit will include groups from the White House and the State Law Enforcement Officers Association, who will address the escalation of prescription drug abuse:
“The most disturbing thing to me about this is that there are medical professionals and there are drug companies that are willfully turning a blind eye to this so that they can make more money,” Nettles said, “That is the most disturbing thing to me.”
Nettles said the summit will try to find solutions and educate agencies to deal with prescription drug abuse. He says one problem is that there is excess medication sitting in people’s drug cabinets: This and other issues will be topics of discussions at the summit at the Koger Center.
Some of those taking part include the Drug Enforcement Agency, the South Carolina Attorney General’s office, the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the state’s medical schools -to name a handful.