QUEENSBURY - The face of drug dealers is changing, and unlike the traditional notion of a pusher who buys his stash from someone else, police say these people don't pay for their products. You do.
Police in Warren County say most of the people they arrest for selling prescription drugs are receiving public assistance and Medicaid, which means free prescription drugs sold them.
Cops say most of the people they arrest for selling prescription drugs aren't paying for them.
"They're making 100-percent profit because the pharmaceuticals don't cost them anything," said Lt. Steven Stockdale of the Warren County Sheriff's Office.
Stockdale says illegal prescription drug sales have reached an epidemic. As much as 65-percent of his drug investigators' time is devoted to solving prescription cases.
Pills on the street, will go for about a dollar a milligram. That's about $80 each for the strongest painkillers. That's big money, especially for those who paid nothing out of their own pocket for the drugs to begin with.
"And the taxpayers are funding this whole stream of pills that are going into the public and creating these addicts," said Kate Hogan, Warren County District Attorney. "It's a dangerous cycle that needs to be broken."
Hogan says there's no quick fix or magic pill. She says some doctors are prescribing the drugs too freely. And sellers know which ones to go to.
And to make matters worse, the pain killers, like Hydrocodone and Fentanyl patches are gateways to heroin.
Sheriffs investigators and prosecutors have been using all available means to stop prescriptions from changing hands.
"But there's only so much that can be done from a law enforcement perspective," said Stockdale.