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Ohio AG claims success stopping prescription pill-mill operations

Addiction takes many forms. There are food addictions. Alcohol addiction has probably been around since human beings discovered the kick delivered by fermented fruit. Then, there's drug addiction.

Most drugs are not illegal, but even some of the ones that science has identified as being beneficial are known to be potentially addicting. When someone does get hooked on a drug, whether it is an illegal substance like marijuana or controlled substance like OxyContin, it can have disastrous results for individuals and society. No wonder Ohio's government seeks to do all it can to control the materials.

Most often it seems that the targets of that enforcement are the victims of addiction. But in recent years, the rise in prescription drug addiction has triggered a marked upswing in police action against distribution sources such as doctors, pharmacists and so-called pill mill clinics.

Solid information about the number of convictions state officials have obtained related to prescription drug charges are said to be hard to come by. Authorities don't tend to break them out from the rest of their drug enforcement efforts. But Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine says the efforts are paying off.

One of the latest cases that law enforcement officials claim as a feather in their cap is the conviction of a West Portsmouth man. Late last month, he was sentenced to 14 years by a federal court for operating three Ohio pill mills. Six doctors who worked at clinics the man ran have also been convicted.

DeWine says that case and others like it are credited with fundamentally changing the trade of prescription drugs in the state. He says opiate addiction remains a problem but that the crackdown on pill mills has made it harder for users to get product.

No one would argue against the government exercising its authority to enforce such laws. But it must always be remembered that as a matter of law, those who wind up being charged are presumed innocent until proven guilty. When facing criminal charges, individuals should always seek to protect their rights and liberty by enlisting an experienced attorney's help.

Source: The Columbus Dispatch, "Pill-mill crackdown in Ohio having success," Kathy Lynn Gray, June 3, 2014

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