JOHNSON COUNTY, Ky. (WYMT) - A recent study from the Washington Post shows pharmacies in Johnson County received nearly 25-million pain pills between 2006 and 2012.
According to the findings from the Automation of Reports and Consolidated Orders System (ARCOS) released by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, Value-Med Inc. led the Bluegrass state through those years by receiving 10,449,480 prescription pain pills.
Value-Med Inc. was the only pharmacy to break 10 million pain pills, surpassing a Louisville pharmacy at 9.6 million.
Another pharmacy in Paintsville, Medicine Cabinet pharmacy, received 9,183,940 units.
Adding up each pharmacy total, Johnson County received 24,922,550 prescription pain pills. That is enough to supply 152 pills per person each year.
After the Drug Enforcement Administration cracked down on many clinics in our region, police say addicts are changing the way they get high.
"So there was a reduction. It kind of made it a little bit tougher to get some of those pills at our addicts were wanting. Therefore, that made an increase in the methamphetamine use," explained Johnson County Sheriff's Deputy Tim Clark.
Clark told WYMT, the opioid crisis during this time brought overdoses, hepatitis "A" and "B," plus a more dangerous job for law enforcement.
"Years ago when I first started, none of that was around. You didn't see any needles unless it was somebody that was actually diabetic or something," Clark pointed out.
He said he does not blame local pharmacies for the crisis.
"If they want their high, they're going to do whatever they have to do to get their high," said Deputy Clark.
Deputies have worked constantly to stay one step ahead of the next crisis through undercover buys and drug education in the local school system.
According to the study, 7,696,130 of the pills were distributed by Quest Pharmaceuticals Inc. and 12,817,250 were manufactured by Par Pharmaceutical.
Click here to view more county-by-county pill numbers.
We reached out to Value-Med Inc. but they declined to comment.