U.S. Attorney says Bluefield Pill Initiative a success - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

U.S. Attorney says Bluefield Pill Initiative a success

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"Criminal organizations who used to deal in crack cocaine are now dealing in illegal prescription drugs," says U.S. attorney Booth Goodwin.

He came to Mercer County Thursday morning to talk about how one effort to battle prescription drug distribution is working.

"It involves a significant amount of undercover investigation as well as a number of investigative techniques designed to get at the heart of an organization," says Goodwin.

Organizations that Goodwin says are selling illegal prescription drugs across Southern West Virginia. He points out the Bluefield Pill Initiative, the effort by law enforcement to battle illegal prescription drugs has resulted in more than 50 arrests in 2 years.  Sixteen individuals are named in a 51-count indictment unsealed Wednesday with 5 more indictments unsealed Thursday.

"These drugs are flowing into these communities and being distributed by this network, and we got pretty far up the food chain with this one.  It's a significant dent," says Goodwin.

That's welcome news for one county in particular. McDowell County Sheriff Martin West says his county leads the state in drug overdose deaths.

"We're working together to solve the problem. We may not get it all done, but we're putting a good dent in it in order to let them know we're there," says Sheriff West.

If you think law enforcement may be letting illegal drug activity continue, authorities say think again.

"A lot of things go on sometime doesn't mean we are not working. It takes time and patience," says Sheriff West.

"You are not going to see us coming.  You are not going to see law enforcement in these efforts," says Goodwin.

Goodwin says 70 percent of illegal pills come from the medicine cabinets of friends and family.

He advises clean out your medicine cabinets and get rid of expired or unused prescriptions by taking them to a "Prescription Drug Takeback Event" or mix them with coffee grounds or cat litter and thrown them away.

 

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