Prescription drug abuse on the rise in N. Idaho - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Prescription drug abuse on the rise in N. Idaho

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COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho -

A north Idaho doctor is back in custody after a manhunt by the north Idaho Violent Crimes Task Force, Kootenai County Sheriff, and Shoshone County Sheriff. Dr. Rafael Beier was found guilty of illegally dealing prescription drugs in parking lots, homes, and at Stateline Showgirls. After that verdict, deputies say he went on the run. Monday morning, he was arrested in a small RV on his property. The U.S. Attorney's Office says he initially wouldn't come out, but he later complied when the sheriff's office threatened to use their K-9 unit.

At Heritage Health, doctors say although prescription pain medication is effective in treating real pain, there is a problem in North Idaho with their abuse. Dr. Michael Whiting has been working with pain management for 13 years. In that time he's seen the rise of prescription drug abuse, and he has the numbers to back it up.  He says according to the CDC, there was about one prescription written for every person in Idaho in 2014. According to Dr. Whiting, around  25 percent of people who begin using opioids could struggle with addiction. 

The doctor says it's been an issue for years--but is just starting to get publicity. 

"Deaths from opioids has drawn attention….particularly celebrity deaths draw attention although it's been a problem for some time," Dr. Whiting explained.

Dr. Whiting says the best thing to do if you know someone you think may be struggling with addiction is to tell your doctor.

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