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Friday, Nov. 21, 2014

'Shopping' for drugs ends in three deaths

Friday, June 13, 2003

You'll read elsewhere in today's paper about three Poplar Bluff women who were found dead from methadone overdoses. Regardless of the circumstances, the story is a tragic one. Three women living in poverty in a rural area outside of Poplar Bluff. All of the women had some history of medical problems but none that would have contributed to their deaths.

But what amazes and frustrates me is the tidbit concerning the medications found in the house following the deaths. Police found bushels of prescription drugs from at least eight different doctors including muscle relaxants and mood-altering medications. And they also found the 90 methadone tablets though none of the women had a history of heroin addiction and that's the purpose of methadone.

The Butler County coroner has ruled all three deaths as accidental and given the medical history of the three, I'm most certainly not in a position to question that ruling. But the deeper issue here to me at least seems to be the amount of prescription drugs found and the number of doctors who were involved in the medical care of these three women.

All three women died from methadone overdoses. Yet the coroner says the deaths were accidental, not suicides. No notes were found, no evidence that the deaths were homicides or planned in any way.

These women appear to have "shopped" physicians to obtain drugs - and powerful drugs at that. I'm not at all certain how you could obtain methadone and I'm thankful that I don't hold that information.

It seems we need some method to track the medical histories in many cases. I too know of cases in Sikeston where people go from doctor to doctor, always looking for prescription drugs and, more often than not, using those drugs for a purpose unintended by the medical community.

Maybe these deaths will somehow provide a wake-up call. If it's that easy for these three women to amass that amount of "legal" drugs, then maybe something is wrong with the system. I believe more will come of these deaths. And I firmly believe, more should.



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