Published Sun, Sep 18, 2011 7:11 am Dateline
Used properly, prescription drugs can relieve pain and suffering.
Used imroperly, they can destroy people.
Aaron Haslam knows all about the abuse problem.
Haslam is an Assistant Ohio Attorney General and a central figure in the battle against prescription drug abuse.
WOUB News recently sat down for an interview with Haslam for an update on Ohio's efforts against pill mills and related crime.
"We're working with task forces all over Ohio," he says, "we're working with (the) Ohio Organized Crime (Commission). We've taken experienced law enforcement officers and created a model investigative unit."
Haslam says multiple investigations are underway, most in southern Ohio, but elsewhere in the state, too.
He says there's already been one conviction and that has cost a doctor his license, and other cases are pending.
Haslam says his goal is to get bad doctors off the street because they've created "chaos" with the pain killers they've improperly prescribed or distributed.
As a result, he says, "what we've seen is a huge crossover from pain medication to heroin."
"They become addicts to the pills," he says, "and then switch to heroin because it's cheaper and more available."