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Preventable Tragedies: Pimp C & Heath Ledger


Codeine + promethazine + clorazepate + sleep apnea + obesity (BMI 39.2) = DEATH. For Houston rapper Pimp C (Chad Butler), found dead in his hotel room December 4, 2007 , it proved a lethal mix of prescription medications and medical diagnoses.

Oxycodone + hydrocodone + diazepam + temazepam + alprazolam+ doxylamine + insomnia + depression(?) = DEATH. For Australian actor Health Ledger, found dead in his apartment January 22, 2008, it was a deadly cocktail of prescription medications and medical diagnoses.

Suddenly, it's not street drugs we have to worry about kids, friends and loved ones abusing. Abuse of prescription medications is the fastest growing drug abuse problem in the US. The number of teens abusing prescription drugs has tripled in the past decade, and it has doubled in the population at large. How does everyone get these drugs? Obviously, they know how to work the system, and work around all of the checks and balances put in by the legal, health care, insurance and pharmaceutical systems. Anyone who has gone to a doctor's office recently to get a prescription for anything, trudged to the pharmacy and had to produce proof of insurance, ID and a credit card knows what I am talking about.

Prescription medications are available over the internet, sold and traded on campuses and the street. But there has to be more to it than that. Somewhere a doctor or two is writing prescriptions and a pharmacy is dispensing the medications. A National Drug Intelligence Center (NDIC) report published June, 2007 noted that Houston has become a hub for pharmaceutical drugs diverted outside the Houston area by "unscrupulous doctors and pharmacists". In the City of Syrup, a Houston doctor and three pharmacists conspired to distribute the same syrup found in Pimp C's hotel room. A Byzantine case - Dr. Hall-Herpin and her employees, three street level drug dealers, and 7 pharmacists were convicted for selling prescriptions for cash, distributing 1.7 million tabs of hydrocodone, 2,500 gallons of "the syrup". Dr. Hall-Herpin would sell stacks of prescriptions, prescriptions to friends of patients and to fictitious persons. She claims she learned the system from another doctor. These are the few who got caught. Open your eyes. Look around you. There are plenty more - in your neighborhood.

If you have any concerns about Prescription Drug Abuse, call 1-866-523-5613.

Thank you Runs with Scissors for use of photo.
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The Healthline Editorial team writes about the latest health news, policy, and research.

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