“Oxycontin use has actually come down in recent years,” said Crowley Chief of Police K.P. Gibson. “My first couple of years in office we had a high number of oxycontin overdoses but I think that the drug is being controlled a lot better by those in the medical profession recently.”
“The thing with oxycontin is that the pill itself is time released,” Gibson added. “However, when people crush it up and snort it or inject it, the drug is obviously being used in ways it was never intended to be.”
Chief Gibson also spoke of how difficult it is to make an arrest with people who are selling prescription medications as opposed to street drugs such as cocaine or marijuana.
“Well obviously there are no prescriptions for crack cocaine,” he said. “If our officers stop someone and they have a prescription for a drug there isn’t anything we can do about it. We need to have someone make a buy from a dealer and that isn’t always easy to do.”
Many of the people who sell oxycontin obtain the drug through a method known as ‘doctor shopping.’ This involves a person who goes to a town or city (many go to Houston) and see several doctors complaining of pain in search of a painkiller prescription. Often a person can acquire several prescriptions of a drug such as oxycontin and then turn around and sell them for a substantial profit.
“Lately the problem has been controlled much better due to databases which doctors can visit to see if a patient is acquiring pills for the same problem from another doctor,” said Gibson. “However, you will have some doctors who are like the outlaws of pain management. They don’t even make money off of the prescriptions but they do make income off of the visits which are often much more than a patient would pay to go anywhere else.”
The fact that Gibson’s force has a narcotics squad that consists of only four officers makes it all the more tougher to battle drug activity in Crowley.
“We are fighting a virtually unwinnable war and we are short-handed,” said Gibson. “When we are short of people on patrol I often have to pull some officers from narcotics and that is hurting us right now.”
Gibson remained hopeful and stated that he does have several men currently going through training. However, he did finish his interview with a sobering statement.
“The drug industry makes over $60 billion dollars a year in the United States,” he said. “I can’t think of anyone I know who doesn’t have a friend or relative with a drug problem and as much as we fight it I can’t see the problem going away . . . at least not during my lifetime.”