According to a recent article by the Detroit Free Press, Detroit has become a major supplier of OxyContin – also known in the street as Blue, Kicker, and Hillbilly Heroin – to states as far away as Maine. According to a veteran Assistant U.S. Attorney in Detroit, who works in the same office that Mr. Freeman worked in from 2000 to 2007, Detroit has been a source of supply of OxyContin down the I-75 corridor.
Law Enforcement officials claim that OxyContin dealers have been traced back to Detroit on numerous occasions from states such as West Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky, Alabama, and Maine. In particular, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in West Virginia has handled more than a dozen prescription pill cases since the first of the year-and all of them involved a Detroit defendant.
The metro Detroit connection isn’t all that complicated. According to the Free Press, Detroit does not have a larger supply of pills, or pill-pushers, rather it all begins with the prescribers. Dealers say that they spend a few days in Detroit hustling scripts from local doctors and pharmacists, and get people to go to the doctor. Then they bundle up the pills and head south where pills can sell in other states for roughly $100 per pill. The U.S. Attorney’s Office in West Virginia isn’t the only one claiming a Detroit link. Other states such as Maine and Ohio claim to see the trend.
Law enforcement’s publicly proclaimed strategy is not complicated – attack the supply (and forget about treatment and demand reduction). Indeed, prosecutions are beginning to focus on the local doctors and pharmacists responsible for converting a prescription into an actual pill. “We’re trying to attack from the top as much as we possibly can,” said Rich Isaacson of the DEA’s Detroit office.
The DEA is targeting doctors and pharmacies that prescribe and sell large quantities of OxyContin. Recent prosecutions range from doctors, pharmaceutical suppliers, physicians, and even pharmacists.
With Detroit as a major focus for federal law enforcement regarding illegal prescription drugs, I anticipate we will begin to see an increase of criminal prosecutions. Not only will hand-to-hand sellers begin feeling the heat from the government, but local physicians and pharmacies will be under the microscope. If you are being investigated by the government you need to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney.