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calendar   Monday - December 12, 2005

Elderly Entrepreneurs

Any way you look at it, this is a sad statement on our society. I sometimes wonder how I will survive ten or twenty years from now when I am retired and I have substantial social security benefits coming thanks to high salaries in recent decades, a substantial 401k savings built up and a few mutual fund investments to rely on. All that and I still worry.

These people in Appalachia are drawing the bare minimum social security benefits and if it hadn’t been for recent efforts by the Bush administration and Republicans they wouldn’t have the benefit of any kind of medicine program. Most of them are illiterate and have no knowledge of programs sponsored by Lilly, Pfizer and other drug companies. They’re getting by the best way they know how. Imprison them? Hell no! Imprison the asshats who dreamed up this whole social security lottery program that has left so many elderly people with nothing to look forward to ....

Seniors Charged With Selling Prescriptions
December 12, 2005, 1:54 PM EST
PRESTONSBURG, Ky. (AP)

Dottie Neeley, 87, was fingerprinted, photographed and thrown in jail, imprisoned as much by the tubing from her oxygen tank as by the concrete and steel around her. The woman—who spent two days in jail after her arrest last December—is among a growing number of Kentucky senior citizens charged in a crackdown on a crime authorities say is rampant in Appalachia: Elderly people are reselling their painkillers and other medications to addicts.

“When a person is on Social Security, drawing $500 a month, and they can sell their pain pills for $10 apiece, they’ll take half of them for themselves and sell the other half to pay their electric bills or buy groceries,” Floyd County jailer Roger Webb said. Since April 2004, Operation UNITE, a Kentucky anti-drug task force created largely in response to rampant abuse of the powerful and sometimes lethal painkiller OxyContin, has charged more than 40 people 60 or older with selling primarily prescription drugs in the mountains.

“It used to be a rare occasion to have an elderly inmate,” Webb said. “Five years ago it was a rarity.” Local jails are having to bear the increased cost of caring for old and often sickly inmates. “You’ve got to give them more attention,” Webb said. “It’s putting a strain on my deputies. We’re understaffed anyway. You’ve got to get them doctors, and meet their medical needs.”

Researchers suspect the problem is not limited to Appalachia. Elderly people “may be looking for a way to bring in a little extra money,” said Erin Artigiani, deputy director of the University of Maryland Center for Substance Abuse Research. “We haven’t heard a lot about senior citizens being a source of those drugs. We know college students do this. It’s not much a stretch to think that seniors could do it, too.”

Dr. Anita Cornett, a physician in Hyden, said one of her patients, a reformed drug addict, told her that he bought all his drugs not from a known dealer, but from elderly people.

- More on this story here ...


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Posted by The Skipper   United States  on 12/12/2005 at 02:55 PM   
Filed Under: • CrimeSocial-Security •  
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