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Illegal prescription drug arrests involving doctor, 8 others prompt new concerns

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There's more fallout following the arrests of a local doctor and eight others on charges of illegally selling prescription drugs. Law officers and others believe this case needs to start a community conversation.

Larry Pinson, executive secretary for the Nevada State Board of Pharmacy, said, "Hydrocodone is the number one abused drug in our country, in our state as well, by far."

Pinson spoke with News 4 about pain pills and addiction. He said anyone who tries to suddenly stop taking these types of medications will probably go through withdrawal. He said, "It's just like what you see in the movies. The symptoms can start within just a few days." He added, "They begin with flu-like symptoms that can include nausea, vomiting, headaches, cramping...it's just horrible."

While Pinson said most will survive withdrawal, in some cases it can be life-threatening, so he suggests getting help.

Following the arrests of Dr. Robert Rand and the others, Renown Health, one of the area's largest health care providers, was asked if there was an uptick in patients seeking pain treatment or requesting detox. Spokesperson Stacey Sunday said, "We haven't seen an increase in our typical volumes." She added, "From our perspective, the recent events deeply affect the entire community and bring to light ongoing issues of prescription drug abuse happening in our area and across the nation."

Sparks Police Officer Ken Gallop said if there is an interruption to pain pill supplies, some might turn to the street to find a substitute. He said, "Sometimes they will turn to heroin, and there is a danger to that."

Pinson agrees. He said, The scary part of heroin is you really don't know what you're getting. You don't know what the strength is or how it has been cut." He said that is why there is a risk of overdose.

He said if you have been taking pain pills for a long time, it might be time for some self reflection, adding, "Why do you want to take these pills? Are you really in pain? Is there some other way to address this pain without the pills." He added, "You don't have to do it alone. There are all sorts of resources out there, and there are people ready, able and willing to help you."

The following is a list of resources, links and phone numbers where you or a loved one can find help:

Join Together Northern Nevada - Substance Abuse Help - (775) 825-HELP

Renown Behavioral Health - (775) 5318

Bristlecone Family Resources - (775) 954-1400

Carson City Community Counseling Center - (775) 882-3945

WestCare Triage Center - (775) 348-8811

There are also other resources and information here: Narcotics Anonymous

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