Docs work to fight pill abuse

Published 12:48 am Wednesday, September 7, 2011

To help fight the growing problem of prescription pill abuse in Coving-ton County, some area doctors have changed the way they prescribe pain medication.

Dr. John Maddox with Three Notch Medical Center stopped prescribing Lortabs nearly two years ago. In fact, nurses in the office said a sign hangs in the front lobby declaring the practice to patients – before they make it back to see the doctor.

In Opp, Dr. Bob Williams and his staff implemented a strict screening process to cut down on the number of fraudulent prescriptions, nurses said.

District Attorney Walt Merrell said the overdose of two Florala residents Saturday serves as a painful reminder of how deadly prescription pill abuse can be.

“It’s a very sad situation – two lives ruined,” Merrell said. “For the most part, one can’t get those types of pills unless a doctor writes a prescription for them. I commend these doctors for acknowledging there is a problem with prescription pill abuse and for trying to do something about it.”

As of Tuesday afternoon, Justin Brown, the second man involved in Saturday’s overdose in Florala, remained in critical condition in a Pensacola, Fla., hospital, police chief Sonny Bedsole said.

Bedsole said previously, officers found methadone, Zanax, Lortab and a “white powdery substance” that field-tested positive as amphtemine at the scene; however, official confirmation of what exactly caused the incident had not been received as of Tuesday, he said.