Los Angeles Joint Drug Intelligence Group Intelligence Bulletin on Diverted Pharmaceuticals & Gang Distribution from March 2010.
A 2010 assessment of pharmaceutical abuse released by the hacktivist collective known as Anonymous provides significant detail about the extent and human toll of prescription medication and “doctor shopping” in Houston and southeast Texas. The bulletin was reported on by major media sources, including the Houston Chronicle, but the report was never released publicly. As far back as 2007, southeast Texas has been referred to as a “mecca” for prescription drug abuse. In October 2007, the Houston Chronicle reported that the amount of Xanax seized by Houston Police had more than quadrupled from the previous year. That same year, narcotics investigators with the Houston Police Department seized 215,946 grams of hydrocodone, an increase of more than twenty-three times from the 9,030 grams seized in all 2005. By 2010, the Houston Chronicle estimated that since 2006 more than 1,300 people had died in Harris County due to the abuse of prescription medication.
(U//LES) Houston High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Overview of Pharmaceutical Abuse and Diversion
The threat of pharmaceutical drug abuse and diversion in the Houston HIDTA has been dangerously high and increasing for the past several years. Drug investigators report that it is becoming more widespread, addicting abusers from middle school to middle age. Perhaps the most concerning threat related to pharmaceutical abuse is the alarmingly high potential for overdose or accidental death from controlled prescription drugs. In Harris County alone, from 2006 through 2008 pharmaceuticals were present in over 66% of the 1533 cases of toxicity-related deaths.1 In 2009, over 78% involved pharmaceuticals. Not only is diversion a deadly problem, it is incredibly profitable. Pain management clinic owners gross an average of $4,000-$5,000 per day at each location. A successful owner running multiple clinics can easily make $75,000 a week from only three operations, getting paid entirely in cash.