A multiagency drug-trafficking task force is devoting its entire two-day annual training conference in Las Vegas on overdoses of drugs prescribed by doctors and sold at pharmacies, reports the Las Vegas Sun. Last year, 841 people in Clark County died of accidental drug overdoses, the majority of which involved prescription drugs, Coroner Mike Murphy said. “What most people don't seem to grasp is that folks who are abusing substances are literally on the edge of death,” he said. “You don't know what your overdose level is. It's different for everyone.”
Participants in the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, a task force representing local, state and federal law enforcement agencies, spent yesterday discussing the need to build greater collaboration among law enforcers, educators and treatment providers to curb the growing abuse of prescribed drugs. Greater scrutiny of physicians prescribing these drugs is one — but not the only — aspect of prevention, officials said. A federal grand jury last week indicted Las Vegas doctor Victor Bruce, 48, on a charge of conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance. Prosecutors allege Bruce, a pain management specialist, prescribed large amounts of oxycodone while conspiring with local drug dealers to distribute the drugs. The surge in painkiller addictions has led to an increased demand for heroin, which is sometimes a cheaper and more accessible alternative to prescription drugs.