Prescription pills take center stage at Diversion Summit - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Prescription pills take center stage at Diversion Summit

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BIRMINGHAM - AL -

"I thought I had to have it from the time I woke up through the entire day," Christy said.

This woman asked us not to use her real name. "Christy" is a recovering drug addict. She says she took Loratabs all day, every day for four years.

She knows about addiction to prescription medicine.

"It's very bad," she said. "It can get bad."

It got so bad she says eventually Loratab didn't do it for her anymore so she switched to cocaine...all while being pregnant.

At the Drug Pharmaceutical Diversion Summit, Wednesday, dozens of local agencies are trying to figure out how to beat the streets when it comes to prescription drugs.

"This is an ongoing problem we have with prescription drugs," Birmingham Police Officer, Katrina Johnson, said. "And the need for our investigators to get that information is very important."

Christy says 90 percent of illegal drug users buy pills on the street. She used to be one of them.

"People that get them prescribed to them, most of the time, will need them but sell them for the money and they make ten times more as probably the pharmacy," Christy said.

"Lock up your meds at home," Landon Gibbs said.

Gibbs is with Law Enforcement Education. He says eradicating the problem will take everyone, starting at the home.

"They are approved for use for certain medical reasons and they're necessary," he said. "People need to get their medicines when it's under a doctor's care. But they also need to take precautions and secure it."

And while the fight continues, Christy celebrates an accomplishment.

"I have been clean for 60 days," Christy said.

She's optimistic for herself, but says the problem on the streets might never go away.

"As long as people get [drugs] prescribed and they are selling them...I don't think so."