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Authorities charge 32 with prescription drug crimes

Pennsylvania authorities announced charges this week against 32 people for allegedly selling prescription drugs in Delaware County, Pennsylvania. The charges - and two murders authorities believe may be linked to them - illustrate how aggressively law enforcement agencies are responding to a changed drug-dealing climate.

As of June 8, 23 suspects had been arrested and charged with the drug crimes. Police were still seeking nine more suspects. Delaware County District Attorney C. Michael Green said the investigation was prompted by two recent killings in the area that are believed to be tied to the illegal sale of prescription drugs.

In the past, authorities focused more of their efforts on the sale of drugs like cocaine and marijuana. Such concerns were also more the area of inner-city police. The surge in illegal use of prescription drugs, particularly in rural areas, has forced law enforcement agencies to adapt their tactics to new ways of selling, hiding and transporting illegal drugs.

The new aggressiveness of law enforcement officials regarding prescription drugs means people should be very careful when they are prescribed painkillers. If you are given a painkiller by your doctor after surgery, for example, but end up not using all the pills, it's best to check with your local law enforcement as to how to properly dispose of them. Leaving them in your medicine cabinet may make you a target for thieves and of course you should never give them to someone who does not have a prescription, even if you think they would benefit from them.

Source: The Philadelphia Inquirer, "32 charged in prescription-drug sales," Mari A. Schaefer, 8 June 2011.

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