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Hydrocodone-containing products are in tablet, capsule and liquid forms. A variety of colors, markings, and packaging are available.
The major source of Hydrocodone to the street has been through bogus call-in and forged prescriptions, professional diversion through unscrupulous pharmacists, doctors, and dentists, and large-scale thefts. The pills have been sold for $2 to $10 per table
Hydrocodone will react as a normal opiate in the available field test kits.
Hydrocodone - a mix of synthetic codeine and acetaminophen - is the most abused prescription drug in the United States, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration.
Drug dealers using the web to sell to teens
Drugs aren't just on the streets anymore, now they're coming into homes by way of the Internet. They're called e-pharmacies - Web sites set up to look legitimate offering prescription drugs such as Valium or Vicodin.
Type in prescription drugs in a search engine and millions of sites pop up. Some are legitimate, others are fronts for drug dealers. Bill Grant with the Drug Enforcement Agency said teens are commonly the target by these online pushers.
"It's a lot easier for the dealers because there's no face...there's nobody standing on a street corner selling these narcotics," Grant said. "This is going over the Internet so they feel safer because they're never seeing who they are selling it to, and they don't care."
With just a credit card and Internet access, it's easy for kids to get lured in. Especially when the site looks like a legitimate pharmacy. Grant said many of these online pharmacies have pictures of doctors and nurses offering an online consultation. Then the "doctor" can prescribe the drugs you're looking for, others say you don't need anything at all.
"A lot of these Web sites will say, 'No prescription required,' which is not true if you're ordering narcotics over the Internet and you have not seen a doctor you're breaking the law," Grant said.
These Internet dealers will sometimes try to hide what they're doing by hooking up with legitimate pharmacists. Local pharmacist Ron Garza said he's been approached in the past.
"We've been approached by some online pharmacies in the past, a lot of independents are," he said. "They promise you a lot of scripts to fill per day, but it turns out that those prescriptions are for controlled substances...it's usually pain killers and anxiety medicines like Hydrocodone and Xanax."
The use of familiar drug names on these Web sites gives kids that buy them a false sense of security.
"A lot of times their philosophy is these drugs aren't harmful because they're medicine," Garza said. "You know...these are real medicines being produced to treat illnesses so how harmful can they be?"
In fact, they can be deadly.
"Kids think that they're indestructible. They don't realize if they mix a little bit of alcohol with that Xanax, they can become homicidal. They can even get behind the wheel of a car and kill someone," Garza said.
Coming up Thursday at 5 p.m. on 6 News, find out what's being done to stop these drug dealers in their tracks. You'll also learn what can you do to keep your children safe.
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