A new report released this week by the State Commission of Investigation in Trenton described the state of what is being called a prescription drug epidemic in New Jersey that is much more serious than the heroin crisis of the 1960s and 1970s. Authorities are extremely concerned that the problem has leached its way into the suburbs, which is something that has not happened in the past. The report showcased a prescription ‘pill mill’ in Camden, New Jersey that allegedly pushed ten million dollars in highly addictive Oxycontin pills onto the streets in less than two years.
Dr. Randy Zeid kept a medical office open on Broadway in Camden, a section sometimes called “Zombie Land” because of the drug addicts walking the streets looking for a fix. According to a two year investigation into Dr. Zeid’s practice, he hired security guards to keep crowds under control at his extremely popular location, which often had lines out the door waiting for prescriptions.
Perhaps most disturbing about this epidemic is that many of the prescription hunters are young, suburban adults who got hooked on painkillers from their medicine cabinet at home. This is quite different from the stereotypical drug abuser, and the abuse of legitimate prescription drugs now serves as a dangerous route to the underworld of heroin which is cheaper and purer than ever. This means a heroin habit is less expensive to sustain than prescription pills, and the purity of the substances allows users to snort it instead of injecting – a practice that is attached to strong and unwanted stigmas.
Dr. Zeid is reportedly also a doctor at Virtua Health System by way of an acquisition of a smaller practice several years ago. A representative said that his pill mill is in no way affiliated with Virtua, and that Dr. Zeid showed no signs of fraudulent or illegal behavior related to prescription drugs.
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