INDIANAPOLIS - Experts warn that prescription drug abuse has become a key part of the crisis of violence in the Indianapolis community.
For three consecutive years, Indiana has led the nation in pharmacy robberies. In 2012, the state had 97 drug store robberies -- more than twice the number of the next two leading states. Even worse, the city of Indianapolis led the nation in robberies.
It seems that people will resort to any means necessary to feed their addictions.
"People go to great lengths to get their drugs, lying, cheating, not only lying and cheating to the pharmacies, doctors, nurse practitioners, LPNs, family members, us. Yeah we get lied to. Anything to get that fix," Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Sgt. Dean Fischer said.
In the past two years, the caseload of the city's Prescription Fraud Unit has skyrocketed more than 30 percent, a number driven police say, by people like Michael Biggers, now on his way to prison after six convictions for drug fraud.
At one time, Jeff Feinlin found himself in the same fix.
"I reverted to no less than what someone would do if they were on heroin or anything else. Just because it was a prescription, doesn't mean it wasn't a drug. And I was addicted too. I would have done anything to get them at the time," Feinlin said.
Painkillers have become more potent, more addicting and more lethal. In the past 15 years, the number of overdose deaths in Indiana has quadrupled.
Living with addiction isn't without its own pain.
"People who are addicted get involved in crime, they see their work going down the drain, family problems, financial problems, problems that all fall out after the addiction has taken hold," said Tobyn Linton, assistant director of adult services at Fairbanks Hospital.
Feinlin is proof that people can break the hold on prescription drugs. Hope and help is there for people who ask for it.
"There's people that can help you. Don't sit there and stay in it. There's only two ways you'll end up. And that's dead or in jail," Feinlin said.
Follow Jack Rinehart on Twitter: @jackrinehart6
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