Drugs Used to Treat Addiction Are Becoming a New Market for Traffickers

Oct 17, 2017

Two Campbellsville residents have been arrested for obtaining and distributing prescription drugs under false pretenses.  Investigators say the pair illegally distributed more than a thousand Suboxone tablets. 

Steve Davis, Inspector General for the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services, says Suboxone is used to wean addicts off of opiates, but it still has addictive qualities.

"It is itself an opiate, but it's a partial antagonist, which means it doesn't have the full effect that a full-fledged opiate would have," Davis told WKU Public Radio.  "One of the primary differences is that it doesn't cause respiratory distress when it's over-utilized."

The Suboxone tablets were allegedly obtained in four counties using other people’s identities.  Davis says the state is seeing an increase in abuse of Suboxone.

Thirty-two-year-old Kori Posey and 36-year-old Donald Thompson, both from Taylor County, were arrested following a nine-month investigation by multiple agencies.  The pair has since been indicted by a grand jury.

The investigation began when a medical provider reported suspected fraud using KASPER, which is a statewide database that tracks what drugs have already been prescribed to patients.  The aim is to prevent doctor-shopping, which occurs when a patient seeks similar prescriptions, typically painkillers, from multiple doctors. 

State lawmakers in 2012 passed legislation requiring doctors to register and use KASPER.  Before then, participation was voluntary.