Prescription pills: A personal story of the struggle to quit - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

Prescription pills: A personal story of the struggle to quit

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Alicia Ramey was 16 years old when she took her first hit of methamphetamine. 

"I had a couple of jobs but I never went to work and when I did, I would steal money out of the cash register, steal cigarettes," said Ramey. 

Experts say they began to see real evidence of prescription pill abuse around 2008.  And now it's become an epidemic.

Chad Napier is the Commander of the Metro Drug Unit.  He says it's a common problem.  "We deal with prescription pill abuse more than any other drug.  It seems like 9 out of 10 of the people we talk to are hooked on prescription pills," said Napier.

Because prescription pills are priced around one dollar per milligram, many people are turning to another drug.  "If they cant afford the pills, or find the pills, they're going to turn to heroine to keep from getting sick," said Napier. 

Heroin is making a come back. 

Napier says it's a cheap opiate that gives a user the same high as pills for cheap. 

For Ramey, those drugs got her through day to day.  Ramey said she got extremely sick without them.  "You throw up, you shake, you can't sleep.  It feels like your legs and arms have bugs crawling all over them, you shake you sweat, shiver."

Because of recent crack downs in states with previously lax laws when it comes to pain pill clinics, those users are making calls to pharmacies in our area.

"Initially we were getting a lot of calls about whether we take the out of state prescriptions from Florida.  Here lately we've seen a lot of people calling about the Georgia prescriptions," said Joe Good, a Pharmacist in Pinch. 

Good says each of his customers is on record when it comes to which prescriptions are filled. 

It's called a Board of Pharmacy Report. 

"If you notice that their ID is different from the local area, that throws up a red flag right there," Good said. 

But for Ramey, who's been in recovery for two years now, she said she's glad she's made it another day.  "I don't have to worry about the crimes I'm going to commit.  People kill people every day over pills."