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Operation Pain Reliever busts Oxycodone abusers

5:35 PM, Feb 3, 2011   |    comments
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Video: UPDATE: Operation Pain Reliever busts dozens

Daniel Williams, one of more than 40 people arrested in Operation Pain Reliever.

 

Tampa, Florida - It's a sad fact, according to detectives.

Oxycodone is the hottest drug on the streets right now, surpassing cocaine, heroin and crack. Law enforcement is trying to get a handle on it, but it seems to be spiraling out of control. Sometimes one Oxycodone tablet will sell on the street for as much as $15.

So, how do you combat this problem?

So far, the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office has been taking down illegal clinics in the Bay area, closing their doors and arresting those who run them.

Photo Gallery: Suspects arrested in Operation Pain Reliever
More Pictures: Operation Pain Reliever booking photos

The Sheriff's office started off with 76 pain clinics that they were trying to shut down, and now they're down to 46 remaining.

"We feel like we've come a long way," says Major Donna Lusczynski.

The Sheriff's Office began to notice a correlation between the number of overdosing deaths and those selling the pills illegally at clinics and on the street. They knew something had to be done.

"It's a tremendous problem. It's estimated there's three to five deaths associated with prescription drugs a week," said Major Lusczynski.

That's when Operation Pain Reliever was born. 

It's been going on for months, where undercover detectives have been making cases on people who buy and sell Oxycodone illegally.

"They go to the doctor and misrepresent themselves, that they have an injury or the extent of it, or they'll go to various doctors, claiming injury and get a number of pills from each doctor," said Major Lusczynski.

One of the reasons that this problem has become so prevalent is because of clinics that the Sheriff's Office says are operating illegally.

Case is point is Sunstate Medical Center in Brandon that was shut down recently for allegedly operating in a fraudulent way.

The Sheriff's Office says they'll continue to monitor places like this to make sure no illegal activity is taking place.

So far, 55 people have been arrested in this operation out of 88 warrants that were issued.

Charges range from trafficking, to possession, to fraud.

Melanie Michael, 10 News

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