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The OxyContin Ice Cream Truck

Don't feel bad about Florida's reputation as the pill-pushing capitol of the world. We, at least, push our pills from clinics housed in nondescript gray buildings, none of which are likely to attract throngs of screaming children.

Not so in New York City. There, they sell narcotics from ice cream trucks!

This is on Staten Island, of all places -- the sleepiest and most bucolic of NYC's five buroughs, to which family-oriented New Yorker often relocate to escape the dangerous bustle of the big city. There, 31 individuals have been indicted for involvement in a $1 million-a-year drug ring, centered around an ice cream truck called "The Lickety Split." According to the New York Daily News, junkies "sat in their cars, waiting for local kids to finish getting their treats, and then lined up for painkillers -- a generic version of the powerful and highly addictive OxyContin narcotic pain reliever."

The painkillers were distributed by Louis Scala and Joseph Zaffuto, who charged customers $20 per pill -- a significant mark-up, as a dose of these generic medications costs only $1.66. The pills were purchased in various pharmacies across the city, after prescriptions were forged by a Manhattanite named Nancy Wilkins, who worked as an office manager for an orthopedic surgeon. Ms. Wilkins' employer apparently knew nothing of her profitable sideline.

Of special note to Floridians: New York State has had a Prescription Drug Monitoring Program in effect since 1972 -- a program similar to the one which may or may not spring into existence this year in Florida, in the hopes of ending the practice of "doctor shopping." Might dairy products be the logical next step for pill-pushing entrepreneurs who are legislated out of business?

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Brandon K. Thorp

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