Wayne County Narcotic Enforcement Team reports the arrest of the following individuals as the culmination of “Operation Pill Pusher”. The arrests stem from a several month long investigation into the illegal sales of prescription pain medication both in Wayne County and Ontario County. It is alleged that the defendants were selling prescription medication which included, Hydrocodone, Oxycodone, Fentanyl patches, as well as imitation controlled substances. The investigation also disclosed that several individuals were purchasing monthly pain prescription from individuals in a three county region and then re-selling them for a large profit.
Those arrested are;
Roy N. Johncox Jr., known as Butch Johncox, age 68, of 106 Canandaigua Street in Port Gibson, for 2 counts of Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the 5th degree a class D Felony; 2 counts of Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the 4th degree a class C Felony; 2 counts of Tampering with a Witness in the 3rd degree class E Felony; 1 count of Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the 7th degree a class A misdemeanor.
According to Macedon Police Chief John Colella, Roy Johncox had the largest impact on the illegal prescription drug trafficking in Wayne County. “He would buy the prescriptions from ten individuals, pay cash for them, then double his money.”
Mark W. Johncox, age 42, of 30 Atwater Street in Port Gibson, for 1 count of Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the third degree a class B Felony; 1 count of Conspiracy in the fourth degree a class D Felony
Lisa A Penn-Thomas, age 44, of 4605 State Route 31 in Palmyra, for 1 count of Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the third degree a class B Felony; 2 counts of Conspiracy in the fourth degree a class D Felony; 2 counts of Endangering the Welfare of a Child a class A misdemeanor; 1 count of Criminal Sale of Imitation controlled substance
Alicia K. Terwilliger, age 22, of 1555 East Palmyra Port Gibson Road in Palmyra, for 2 counts of Conspiracy in the fourth degree a class D Felony
Derek E. True, age 21, of 134 Woodside Drive in the Village of Newark for 1 count of Criminal Possession Controlled Substance in the third degree a class B Felony; 1 count of Criminal Sale Controlled Substance in the third degree a class B Felony; 1 count of Criminal Sale of Imitation Controlled Substance a class A misdemeanor.
Task Force Co-Commander John Colella stated, “This investigation showed that the abuse of prescription pain medication is a serious concern in our community”. “Individuals are taking advantage of legitimately prescribed medication in order to turn a profit for themselves, with a total lack of concern for what is happening to the end user”. “Some of the defendants were selling heart medication under the guise that they were pain pills”. “With the end user often consuming pills of an unknown nature, the potential for a serious outcome is great”.
Who is a prescription drug addict?
It may start out as myriad bodily pains followed by a legal prescription from a doctor, Unfortunately, the positive effects of drugs such as Hydrocodone, Oxycodone to relieve pain all too often require the user to increase the recommended dosage or period of time prescribed. As with illegal drugs, the user becomes addicted and searches for more and alternative methods of getting the drugs. Prescription medications work on the user’s brain in the same way their illegal counterparts do. When a person who is addicted to prescription drugs uses them, the medication changes the brain’s chemistry, making it less effective at producing chemicals like dopamine or endorphins. Since the brain has stopped producing these chemicals itself, they must be introduced through another source. At this point, the prescription drug addict has become physically dependent on the medication.
Multiple doctors, phantom pain reports, stolen or changed prescriptions, numerous pharmacies and street sales from unscrupulous dealers feeds the addictions.
Doctors fall prey to the addicts, thinking they are relieving pain for a patient, only to learn afterwards they have been duped by patients making the rounds of doctors in and around a community.
One Wayne County Doctor said she now requires suspicious patients to fill out a legal document that allows her office to turn over patient records when prescription fraud is discovered.
Pharmacists often develop a keen eye for prescription forgeries, according to Gananda Pharmacist Jose Delossantos. “You get a gut feeling and can tell if a prescription is forged or not.” Police are notified and a investigation may ensue.
Pharmacists have the right to sell, or not to sell a prescription to an individual if they suspect a problem. The New York State Health Department Narcotics Enforcement Division, will often take leads from pharmacists concerning forged, or doctors suspected of over-writing certain prescriptions.
If prescription medications involve crossing state lines, the DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency enters the picture.
One way new prescription addicts are thwarted is when the Health Care Program, or patient HMO begins to see a trend for specific medications and patients.
Chief John Colella said he hoped to build a stronger relationship with the County Social Services that supply tax dollars that pay for many prescriptions that end up on the streets. The Chief said it is common to have a person who is a persistent prescription user to sell his or her pills they receive for next to nothing for $20 or more per pill.