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First Look: Vanguard’s “The OxyContin Express”

October 8th, 2009 by Rebecca Harper Editor

Although Season 3 of Current TV‘s in-depth reporting series Vanguard doesn’t get started on television until next Wednesday at 10 p.m. EDT/9 p.m. CDT, Hulu is bringing you the full season premiere a few days early. “The OxyContin Express” is an in-depth look at prescription drug abuse and the pill mills of Southern Florida, where lax prescription regulations provide easy access to addictive medications such as oxycodone for people all over the U.S. In her coverage of Broward County, Florida, Vanguard journalist Mariana van Zeller speaks to a family affected by pill addiction, travels the pill pipeline (the “Oxy Express”) from Florida to Appalachia, and rides along as the police crack down on pill dealers. Hulu spoke to Van Zeller about this episode earlier this week. Below, she tells us why they chose to cover prescription meds and all about her harrowing run-in with the angry owner of a pain management clinic. (You can watch part of the experience in the episode.) — Rebecca Harper (), Editor

Hulu: Hi Mariana, thanks for speaking with us. Can you tell us about Vanguard?
Mariana van Zeller:
Vanguard is an award-winning weekly documentary series that airs on Current TV. What we try to do is tell stories that we believe are important and unreported, and we try to tell them in a way that basically speaks to a young adult audience. We live in a time when most outlets out there, most networks, are shying away from international reporting. They’re closing foreign bureaus, and they’re just not telling international stories. It’s out of a belief that people just aren’t interested in international stories. We believe the exact opposite. We think that especially young people are interested in long-format, in-depth reporting, but there’s no outlet out there that speaks to them directly. That’s what we’re trying to do. We do a lot of international stories, but we do a good batch of national stories as well. What we do differently is that we tell them in a more in-depth way. We don’t spend a minute on the topic, which is what you see nowadays. Again, we live in a time when every subject is approached for either a minute or it’s all conversation and discussion about the subject, but there isn’t actually feet-on-the-ground, in-depth reporting. The way that we report our stories is also very different from what you see in traditional media. It’s more off the cuff, informal. There’s more immediacy to the feel. That’s because, when things are staged, you sort of step away from the story, from the reality. We wanted people to feel like they’re with us, that they’re there on this journey as we tell these stories that we believe are important.

Of course, you reported on pills in the Season 3 premiere. Why prescription drugs?
You hear about prescription pills, unfortunately, when celebrities die. You heard a lot about it when Heath Ledger died and when Michael Jackson died, but that’s pretty much it. But actually prescription pills are a growing problem in the United States. More people now are abusing prescription pills than ecstasy, cocaine and heroin combined. We decided to take a harder look at it, outside the celebrity world, and really go and do an in-depth documentary about where this is happening, why it is happening, and how it’s affecting people. Just to give you an example, we found out that Florida was sort of becoming this source state, the Colombia of prescription drugs. A lot of people from all over the U.S. were heading to Florida to get their drugs. This has become a huge problem in Florida, where 11 people a day are dying from prescription drugs. This is something I like to say, because I think it really opens up people’s eyes: The day that Michael Jackson died, 11 people died that same day in Florida. That’s the average there. Between the deaths of Heath Ledger and Michael Jackson, 6000 people died in the state of Florida alone. This is a big problem and we can’t just look at it through the eyes of celebrities. We felt that we really had to go out there and do some actual reporting and find out what’s happening.

So what we did is, we followed the pills. We got to Florida and saw the devastation and the impact that prescription pills were having there, and then we followed the pill pipeline from Florida through Appalachia, where every day hundreds of people are coming down to Florida to get their pills and take them back to their states. They’re having huge impacts there, too. Prisons are filling up and people are dying. It’s destroying families and whole communities.

How did you find the people you profiled, people like Todd, an addict we meet at the beginning of the episode?
We spent about two months of preproduction in the office, just making phone calls every day, trying to find people. That was the hardest part, to find actual addicts who were willing to speak to us on camera. We were able to speak to a lot of them but, obviously, there weren’t many who were willing to just give us interviews on camera. But then we came across Maureen, who’s very active herself in the fight against prescription pills because she has lost a son already, and a daughter-in-law. She’s become very, very involved in this fight against these pain clinics in Florida. On the phone with her, she told us that her other son was also addicted to prescription pills, so we came down to Florida and she introduced us to him. We ended up spending a few days with him, and it was just an incredible experience for us.

Watching this, I was personally disturbed by Todd’s story and his actions, that he’s still using after all that’s happened to his family. Do you find that you have a hard time remaining objective as you report on things like this?
Absolutely. I think that’s always the biggest challenge for us journalists. In this story in particular, we had seen the harm that these pain clinics and these doctors are doing to these people, and were trying at the same time to be objective. We tried to get their perspectives on this, too, and of course, as you’ll see in the piece, we were chased away from one clinic. We called a bunch of other clinics because we wanted to set up interviews. No one wanted to talk to us. It gets really difficult when you’re trying to get their voice in there, too, but you’re being chased away and people are hanging up on you as soon as you call. I think that also says a lot about what sort of business is going on there, when we can’t get anyone to sit with us and talk to us. What we have to see, too, is that this is a minority. It’s a small group of doctors, but unfortunately they’re capable of doing a lot of harm. I’m not saying the whole medical community is corrupt.

mariana van zeller

When you do these exposés, what are your goals? Have you had any success stories from past stories that you’ve covered?
I think our main goal is always to raise awareness, to make people talk about what is broken in the system. People usually ask us journalists, “Why do you always do sad stories or tragic stories; why don’t you report on the good stuff?” Well, because when there’s good stuff, there’s nothing to report about. Our job as journalists is to shine a light and raise awareness on things when the system is broken, when things aren’t working, not when they are. If they’re working, it’s because everything is going accordingly. I think that’s always our objective, to shine a light and raise awareness on what’s going wrong and what’s broken in the system. In this case, it’s very flagrant and very obvious that something is broken and something needs to change.

In “The Oxycontin Express,” you were followed by someone during your coverage. What was that experience like? How did it all unfold?
It was insane. I thought I was in the middle of an episode of The Sopranos. Basically, we were filming on the other side of the street outside a pain clinic. As soon as we took the camera out — we had it out for five minutes — a car parked behind us. This guy started yelling at me because I was the only one standing outside the car at the time. He was cursing at me in a very, very threatening manner and asking us what we were doing. We explained that we were doing the film. He was just cursing and yelling, so we got in the car and drove off. He actually started following us. Two guys got into the car with him, and then another car joined them. Every time we tried to stop at a gas station, they would basically get out of the car and start running toward us. Eventually, we had to call 911, and they came to the rescue.
The back story is that we actually ran out of gas. We didn’t include it in our story, but every time we tried to stop at a gas station, they would come out. Eventually, on the highway, we ran out of gas as we were calling 911. We had to pull over, and I think they were very confused about what was happening because it was in the middle of the freeway in Florida, so they just parked behind us. They stayed in the car and didn’t come out or anything. We just waited. It was the most insane thing. The whole time, I was completely imagining that scene from The Sopranos where the guy comes out of the car and points a gun at us.

It was crazy. I was terrified. Luckily, the police arrived and they got off with a warning. We later found out that one of the cars belonged to the owner of the pain clinic, who was actually a guy who had already served time in prison for possession of steroids with intent to sell.

Have you had any other experiences like this, where you were in danger?
Oh yeah, many. I was doing a story once on the border of Syria and Iraq — it was actually right after the war in Iraq officially supposedly ended, when Bush declared the end to the war in Iraq. It was when the insurgencies started in Iraq, where insurgents, foreign fighters, were coming from all over to Iraq to fight. We did a story about the Syrians who were crossing the border into Iraq basically to fight the Americans. We spent a couple of weeks on the border, trying to get some of these insurgents who were coming back after fighting. We wanted to get their perspectives on what happened, why they were fighting, and how they were doing it. It was very, very scary because we were in a territory where, on one hand, we were told it was full of Al Qaeda members and, on the other hand, we were also trying to stay away from the Syrian secret police because we were there as tourists, or else we wouldn’t be able to report this story. We were followed by the Syrian secret police several times and we had to get the tapes out through Lebanon and it was crazy stuff.

Let’s see, what other harrowing experiences have I had? Well, we had another nerve-wracking experience when we met with militants in the Niger Delta, with the oil conflict. We had an appointment to meet them at this fort, and when we got there, it was a boat with seven armed young men — some of them looked like they were teenagers — who had a bottle of whisky in one hand, and a gun in the other, and they took us away for an hour in their boat in the middle of the swamps to one of their camps to show us, basically, their power. We were eventually able to speak to their spokesperson, and that was very nerve-wracking, especially since at one point, once we got there, to their camp, they didn’t allow women inside. It’s bad juju, bad luck to allow women in their camp. I had to stay in the boat and my producing partner, who is also my husband, was taken inside. So I stayed out in the boat with these seven guys with guns looking at me while my husband goes with the camera inside the camp. That was a nerve-wracking experience, for sure. I’m lucky that I do it with my husband, though. He’s my own personal bodyguard.

What else are you reporting on this season?
We also have another story about the end of the war in Sri Lanka. For 25 years, the government of Sri Lanka was at war with one of the biggest badasses of modern-day terrorism. They’re actually called the “O.G.s of modern-day terrorism,” the Tamal Tigers. After 25 years, that war came to an end, and a lot of countries were looking at Sri Lanka as an example of how to defeat terrorism. We traveled to that country during the waning days of that war to see what Sri Lanka had to do to defeat terrorism and what kind of examples we could learn from that country, if any.

How did you get your start?
I’m from Portugal originally, and my name is Dutch, so I think I have a lot of the explorer’s blood in me — you know, Dutch and Portuguese. I’ve always loved to travel and I sort of decided I wanted to become a journalist when I was around 12 years old. I used to see all these beautiful anchors on Portuguese television. They seemed so knowledgeable; they could talk about anything and go on for hours for every issue. Little did I know they were actually reading from a teleprompter! That’s basically when I decided that I wanted to be that knowledgeable, and I always loved to travel. Early on, I decided I wanted to be a journalist, one who actually goes out and reports and travels and looks for stories. I wouldn’t want to be just an anchor or anything.

Thanks, Mariana for your time today.

For the latest news from Vanguard and Current TV, become a fan on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/CurrentVanguard and http://www.facebook.com/current.

Last comment: about 18 hours ago 29 Comments
  • steve bruni says:

    I am a disabled Vietnam veteran with a spinal cord injury leaving me paralyzed and in pain. I am a life member of the paralyzed veterans of America, a good family man, married 45 years to my wife, 3 kids 4 grandkids, owned my own home since I was 26. because of one sided stories like this and the drug war, my VA clinic who I have been getting my morphine from, been taking it for over 20 years when all other meds failed to make a dent in neuropathic pain, the hardest to treat, decided that any opiate, there are 14 in the VA formulary, has no legitimate use. all doctors at my clinic were forced to attend a 2 day seminar threatening them with losing their jobs or licenses if they prescribe opiates contrary to both VA/DOD and florida policy. we have been told our new administrator instigated this policy, so how about doing a story on the troops America loves and now are faced in their final years of living in pain or maybe even suicide instead of leading a fruitful, fulfilling life. us vets now have to fight one more war, the war on drugs. this is shameful and something should be done by the vanguard network, current tv, to give our side of the story. now every time I hear someone say “thank you for your service” I think back at me enlisting at 17 and volunteering to go to Vietnam and want to throw up. is anyone out there willing to stand up for me or my brothers?

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  • Khan says:

    I have started hainvg major back pain, mainly in my lower back, but have never been to a doctor for it. Unfortunately in high school I chose to march a tuba in band for three years straight about 20-25 hrs. a week. I am only 4’10 and 105 lbs. Also, I am a waitress and I have to carry 50-60 lb. trays all day full of food. I have tried taking advil, tylenol w/codeine, ibuprofen- everything, even stonger stuff. Nothing has worked, except for my father’s vicodin which he lets me take on occasion. I want to go to the doctor and have him help me with this problem, but I don’t want to come off as a drug-addicted young person begging for pills, but so far vicodin is the only thing that has seemed to do the trick. And I don’t like going to the chiropractor, I just feel uncomfortable with someone touching my back and it cures the pain for a day then it comes back. So I don’t know how to tell the doc that I can’t get physical help with it.I dont really believe in taking pills, but lately vicodin has been wonderful to me. What do doctors usually prescribe or recommend for back pain? What do I do?oh I’m 20 by the way

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  • [...] with the Oxycontin Express. But no one is suggesting she belongs in prison, nor should they be. Hulu has a blog interview about the special with Mariana van Zeller who is originally from Portugal. Some irony here as [...]

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  • Jim Snyder says:

    I just finished watching Vanguard’s 2009 Oxycontin Express, their doc about the prescription drug trade in Florida. It seems that Florida is the only state in the union that has no system of reportage for doctors writing CII- or the highest class of- narcotic drugs.

    The film is remarkable, in that it shows us a lot of remarkable practices among a lot of legitimately-licensed docs in the Sunshine State. We learn that some 75% of all Oxycontin sold in the United States was prescribed in Florida.

    The name, Oxycontin Express, is derived from the fact that hundreds drive- or fly to Florida specifically to “doctor shop”, to procure Oxycontin in huge quantities. We see just what a huge racket the so-called pain management business is down there.

    The producers ride along with cops on stings. We see the Sheriff’s Dept. of Broward County bust people outside a pharmacy for selling their pills. We go along to Kentucky, where a backwoods sheriff has nailed a couple dozen housewives for “diverting” their prescriptions. One thrty-ish woman received seven years in prison for her sales rap. What we don’t ever see in this film is the arrest or even anything beyond mild harrassment of the crooked doctors themselves. We see cops talking about how ‘getting the doctors is very hard, so we go after these lower echelon people’. And we get up close and personal with the remains of a family that has been devastated by Oxycontin addiction. And it appears that all involved agree on one thing. Their efforts are absolutely without reward.

    There is a profound lack of understanding of just what addiction means to an individual – or his /her family. There is no understanding of what addiction is… period.

    What we don’t get by watching this exercise in outrage, is that once these drugs get into the hands of these poor slobs- people who are going through all these remarkable changes, just to possess a couple hundred pills- is that they, in most instances- have little choice. We do understand from the surviving son of a family that has lost a brother and a wife is that these addicts are not bad guys. We get that, after the doctors, there are no bad guys, really. Once the drug has control, they have no choice but to hustle pills and then sell them, take tham and whatever else their needs dictate.

    When I saw the Broward County Sheriff’s undercover agents getting ready to go out on a sting, I was expecting some satisfaction as the cops swooped down on the unscrupulous doctors and their Escalade-driving henchmen. But, no. The cops, no doubt at great expense, drive to a local pharmacy and bust some poor couple for selling ten tablets of the stuff. It makes one realize just how worthless cops are in the so-called War on Drugs. One more tortured soul in the jail at taxpayers’ expense. One more dope addict the local politicians can brag about ‘gettin’ off the street6′.

    The net result of all this is a big fat goose egg. As many questions are posed as are answered in this piece. OK. So Florida has no reporting system for narcotic scripts. Then why does Broward license these hundreds of businesses calling themselves Pain Management Clinics? What would- or could- the 123rd doctor to apply for one of these business licenses say if he were turned down at the county level? The funny thing here is that most of the greed seems to exist in places other than the so-called pushers. Ten thousand tabs of Oxycontin are written daily in Broward County and the sheriff wastes dozens of expensive man-hours to toss two people in the brig and get twenty tablets off the street. We hear a cop say, “So I think we’ve had a pretty good day!” -after delineating the 22 grams of this and that they’ve saved us all from using to ruin our collective life. Right. If a good day is getting paid for doing- or at least accomplishing nothing…

    Cops, judges and lawmakers don’t seem to have much, beyond the weird blood-lust they get when they see someone getting high or making a dollar illegally. We look at the criminals via this movie and then we watch who goes to jail- and who suffers- and we can’t help but wonder… Can we really feel that our public servants are earning their keep by locking that woman up for seven years? Even the kindly ol’ bumpkin sheriff seems to approach that one somewhat at arm’s length.

    If there is a sequel to this movie, maybe it could be called Legal Justice Express. Except that no one is traveling to Florida these days for anything related to justice.

  • Marsha Schorr says:

    My son (age 24) died last year from snorting Oxycontin obtained illegally. We lived in Cape Coral, Florida. My life as I knew it ended along with his. He was my only son. I say get the ridiculous drug off the market and do it as fast as possible. A few people needing it for pain can be transitioned over to something else – it’s not worth the loss of life that oxycontin leaves in its’ wake. There’s a group in SW Florida who are able to sell the stuff on the streets without consequence. google: Rod Spiller.

  • Brian M. Hart says:

    I was addicted to using Oxycotin and Heroin Introveneously for almost eight years. I just celebrated 3 years clean last month. There is a way out but it takes extensive repair of body, mind and soul. You have to isolate the problem that drugs are the solution for. I was lucky enough, after going to numerous 12 step based rehab programs to run across a non-traditional program that works.

  • What a Joke! says:

    This is nothing more than DEA propaganda! Oxycontin and other opiate pain medications are not used for Cancer only. There are many people who suffer from severe chronic pain (I am one of them) and these type of medications are the only ones that help. Because of idiots like Todd and the woman who made this joke of a documentary, people that need these meds for their pain are denied treatment. If you want to make a documentary, how about making one about pain patients and their need for these wonderful pain medications to be able to function like a normal human being and not bedridden because the pain is too horrible, but we are denied care and many of us commit suicide because of being either undertreated or not treated at all. How about making one about that and not one State’s problem with junkies.

    You should be ashamed of yourself for not doing the research for people with chronic pain and putting it into this “documentary”!

  • What a Joke! says:

    This is nothing more than DEA propaganda! Oxycontin and other opiate pain medications are not used for Cancer only. There are many people who suffer from severe chronic pain (I am one of them) and these type of medications are the only ones that help. Because of idiots like Todd and the woman who made this joke of a documentary, people that need these meds for their pain are denied treatment. If you want to make a documentary, how about making one about pain patients and their need for these wonderful pain medications to be able to function like a normal human being and not bedridden because the pain is too horrible, but we are denied care and many of us commit suicide because of being either undertreated or not treated at all. How about making one about that and not one State’s problem with junkies. You should be ashamed of yourself for not doing the research for people with chronic pain and putting it into this “documentary”!

  • Job EXTREMELY well done says:

    Siobhan Reynolds,
    I am an 18 year old living right here in South Florida. I can personally say that this documentary is 100% accurate, and those of you who disagree are blind and ignorant. It is disgusting how easy it is to find and get pain killers such as Oxycontin and Roxys!
    It is crucial that the word gets out and the problem does get solved. Although people do need to take responsibility for their actions, it is the governments job to protect the people from harm in the first place, i.e. stronger regulation. This way THOSE WHO ACTUALLY NEED IT are getting it, and those who don’t are not.

    Bill Nuna,
    You are very wrong. Addicts aren’t just those “living off the rest of us”, though that is what you would like to think, they are everyone from the RICH to the poor.

  • Shanna says:

    I get that people in pain need need their pain pills ,but makes me wonder if some aren’t addicted themselves thinking they have to have them to live. No one can tell me anything about this topic when my husband OD on pain pills in Aug. 2009 at the age of 33 he was going back & forth from KY to FL for 4mths lost 60 lbs in a short time also. I know some don’t feel sorry for people being on drugs ,but those people need to understand at first it is a choice but turns into an addiction than thats when it’s hard to control without support & help. My husband was introduced by Oxy’s from someone he thought was his friend & the guy got him hooked & even had my husbands family in denial he was a good guy. I also have a friend who is on Oxy’s now within the last 4mths she use to be a size 12 now is a size 2 she looks awful & like she is dying.

    After my husband had passed there was a very high level of Oxycotin in his system. For those who think it’s a joke I’m here to tell you it’s not & some are just being selfish by saying “well what about me I can’t get pills?” I’m sure you could if you really wanted them that bad.
    Seriously, if these kids are handed out Oxy’s & Roxy’s from these clinics like it’s candy then I’m sure people that are really in pain can get what they need. I don’t buy that sorry! It’s just something else to complain about. I have had 4 deaths within 7mths related to Oxy’s & Roxy’s so don’t tell me it’s not getting bad . Yes drugs have always been an issue for ever but random people are OD on these pills left & right at very young ages & NOTHING is being done. Why? is my question…It doesn’t add up when Celebs are even dying & still nothing is being done. 11 people are dying a day in FL just over pain pills alone….HELLO??? IS this thing on???

    How about those who are only worried about themselves not being able to get what THEY want for their own needs & actually help shut these clinics down so you can be able to get the treatment you need easier cause complaining about it isn’t doing any good. I know it makes too much sense & why should someone actually care & do something for someone else right??? Exactly so sit & pout to everyone then hush it up until you really know what people have had to go through that have had friends & family pass away over this topic.

    Jennifer King, I know your comment was along time ago but would like to say just be careful with your daughter. I know you think she will stay clean after her treatment .My husband didn’t when he got out of rehab & he still got back on pills. You have to be very careful & not be in denial. I wasn’t & could tell every time my husband would lie which he hated that & it began an arguement but I didn’t care. It only took him one time to get hooked back on them. Addicts get tempted at their weakest time in their lifes like a dog could die or fam member & they try anything to get rid of the pain cause thats the best way they know how not knowing it could be the last time their alive. I wish you nothing but the best & I do wish there was something I could do myself to help get these clinics out of business.

  • NoExcuses says:

    Step son from Melbourne in a one year treatment program. He was shooting it. His Mom in West Palm nearly died when she OD’d from the pain clinic shopping spree they were on. Now I live in TN where facts are reported.
    http://www.newschannel9.com/news/seized-988844-pills-bradley.html

  • Oxycontin detox can be very overwhelming. Having info like this prior to entering gives the detoxer a great reference point.

    Thanks for the informative blog.

  • Jennifer King says:

    I live in South Florida and on Thursday had to put my 20 year daughter into detox after finding out she was addicted to roxy’s and xanax. Over the past two days I’ve done nothing but research this and realize that this is absolutely happening right before our eyes. She kept telling me about how she got them with MRI’s and I had no idea what she was talking about. Now it all makes sense and so many things are falling into place. I live on an island that isn’t full of beaches and so it’s affordable. There’s an entire generation of kids on this island that are consumed by these drugs. I have watched this documentary 5 times so far. I’ve also found that it’s not just Broward county. Now they are banching out and taking up residence on our side of the state (we are on the east coast). I want this stopped and I want to know what I should do to help. I’m so angry right now I can’t see straight. It’s the same people who recently devestated our housing market, the vampires of South Florida who always have their hands in every part of what makes Florida so corrupt. To those of you that are defending this, you’ve got to be kidding me. If you have legitimate ailments you can go to a legitmate doctor. This is a front and you know it.

  • james kildare says:

    The opioids narcotics are effective for diseases such as chronic pain partially solved, medicines like Vicodin, Lortab, oxycodone, Lorcet are widely used in USA and Europe for medical specialists according to findrxonline the percentage of use of these drugs is very high in this part of the continent.

  • Mariana is WRONG says:

    its hilarious how this whole story does not take all the real pain patients into account at all. Just reports on idiots like Todd who smoke their Oxycontin. What about REAL PAIN PATIENTS VANGAURD?????? you claim to be a journalist, well stop being a propaganda machine for the DEA

  • Siobhan is correct. As an educated individual who is also a pain patient, I can say that Mariana did not do her research on medical treatments and what Opioids are used for. Many in correct statements made such as “Oxycontin is only for cancer death patients” WRONG.
    That is not at all true. Oxycontin was not NOT made for Cancer Pain who are dying . It is for all chronic pain, non-malignant and non terminal pain especially. When you have a nerve impingement or disc problem makin you want to die, but then instead of spending thousands on surgery a tiny pill gives you life back and if your not an idiot and don’t abuse it you will function just FINE! That part is of course not reported in your story. The DEA is already ruining the lives of pain patients around the world. And dare I say it, Opioid provide so many more benefits then just pain relief, I actually advocate for them being used for psychological conditions, but that is never going to happen in this backwards society. I blame both the government hard headed types and the abusers. Read the article below Mariana if you reading this, it will do you a lot of good. You did NOT do the right type of intellectual research before presenting you one sided piece of pill mills.

    http://forum.opiophile.org/archive/index.php/t-16751.html

    You have no idea what “Chronic Pain” is and that is your first problem. Disc degeneration, nerve issues, the list goes on all of these people start off on percs but need somthing which does not make them drowsy and can deal with their pain giving them a better quality of life, and if there is something that can do that for you, it doesn’t mean that you are part of some pain clinic conspiracy. Florida Pain clinics are not the story hunny, Opiate abuse has been going on way before Oxycontin in Florida. It is about how to get legitimate pain patients prescriptions without having one sided stories like yours make us all look bad! Got it?

  • Keith A. Lindsey, MBA says:

    Siobhan, you’ve got to be kidding me! Either you are completely bereft of a moral compass or just completely stupid! The people that were shown in this expose were flagrantly and admittedly doing prescription drugs…and not in the way it was intended! How many people smoke Oxy as prescribed by a physician? You’re not supposed to do that! You’re supposed to take it as intended…with water and swallowing the pill.

    There may well be people who are denied pain meds, but it would seem to me that all they would have to do is take a trip to Broward County Florida and they could have all the pain meds that they want!

    Also, did you not see the men who were following the reporters in this story? Have you thought to ask yourself WHY they were doing that if nothing illegal or immoral was going on?

    People who advocate the legalization of drugs should watch this story as it illustrates what the result of such will be: Many people dying and many leading miserable unproductive lives as addicts!

    To the reporters of this story, hat’s off to you! You’ve done an excellent job of exposing this problem! Well done!

    Best Regards,

    Keith A. Lindsey, MBA

  • This is disgraceful and utterly misleading DEA propaganda. Classic DEA story line.
    The conflation of drug abuse and pain treatment is a crime against people in pain and the government has no business developing propaganda like this with our tax dollars.
    The real story is that millions are DENIED pain care due to the DEA’s crackdown on pain treatment. I would be very interested to see this “reporters” credentials and to learn of the origins of this story.
    People are dying in droves out here because they can’t get care, folks…but what do you care? You are trying to justify your unjustifiable and failed war on drugs.

  • Audrey Dotson says:

    A most powerful report. Scioto County Ohio is number 2 in the state for “accidental” overdose deaths and we are becoming like Florida with a pain clinic on every corner. Even down the street from the County Jail. In a county of about 83,000 we have 8 or more pain clinics. It is killing me to see our children destroyed because of the Greed of the Pharmaceutical companies and the Doctors and the Pharmacies. Just put a bandaid on the problem, make our lives even more miserable by arresting the little guy who is addicted and let the legal drug pushers get by with it. When are we going to wake up and really do something about this? What is it going to take a politicians child dying?

  • nancy edington says:

    I have friends that use these drug.and some go to Florida.i would love if they put them out of dealing..

  • Ballard says:

    According to these studies this kind of opioids narcotics should be legalized as they consume to improve quality of life of people suffering from chronic pain and suffering, it is important that this announcement has given the International Association of Cannabis as a medicine as it indicates findrxonline the methods in use and the characteristics of each.

  • Bill Nuna says:

    What is left out of the story is these pillbillys are living off of the rest of us. They are getting HUD Housing, Food Stamps and a medical card.Even after they are busted for dealing. These people are scum. The parents teach the kids the system and it keeps going generation after generation. The sheriff needs help to clean up his county. I say drug test welfare applicants.
    And cut them off if they fail the test.

  • Victor Carless says:

    First rate investigation. Thank you for doing the reporting that the main stream media fails to do.

    With all the shows Vanguard has produced on drugs and jail, I would love to see a show on ibogaine. It is supposed to be a plant from west Africa that interrupts addictions.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ibogaine
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=syztZcpj69U

    This drug is supposed to help addicts recover from their addictions by interrupting their craving and allowing them to stop using. Supposedly there are clinics in Canada and Mexico that treat addicts. It is classified as a Schedule I drug in the United States, so use in the states will be underground.

  • [...] on the Hulu blog, Mariana chats with Editor Rebecca Harper about the episode. She answers questions about Vanguard, [...]

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