A Salem man has been arrested and charged with distributing prescription drugs in Fulton County.
Christopher Sanders, 27, of Salem was arrested Jan. 20 at his residence on 1st Street after he sold alprazolam to a police informant in a controlled buy at his residence according to authorities.
Authorities said they tape recorded the transaction and got a statement from the informant.
On another date the informant purchased Hydrocodone at Sanders' residence and made an audio recording, authorities said.
Authorities said they had also been conducting surveillance of Sanders' residence.
Sanders is charged with delivery of a controlled substance, alprazolam, a class C felony; delivery of a controlled substance, Hydrocodone, a class B felony; and delivery of a controlled substance, oxycodone, a class Y felony.
Investigator Brian Sanderson with the Drug Task Force said Sanders had a prescription for the drugs. "The biggest problem is people getting large amounts of prescription drugs and selling them to other people. People are selling them left and right and we're going to crack down on all of it. If people are going to sell it, we're going to put them in jail."
Salem Police Chief Al Roork said the three drugs are being seriously abused in Fulton County and have been responsible for several overdoses which have resulted in the death of several persons over the last year.
"I have personally been involved in several overdoses where the autopsy reports have indicated prescription drugs," Roork said.
Roork said people who are prescribed the drugs are selling the pills to others who use them for recreational drugs. Roork said users often mix the drugs with other drugs or alcohol to a deadly effect. Oxycodone is a drug often prescribed to relieve post surgery pain.
Roork said that it's usually not the amount of a single drug that proves fatal but the compounds that result when they mix together with other drugs. He said autopsy reports of those who overdose usually show more than one drug.
"We've recently been having more of a problem with prescription medications than methamphetamine, which is scary since we've got a big enough problem with that," Sanderson said.
"We expect to make more arrests," Roork said. "It's been a problem for a good number of years and a growing problem."
Alprazolam is a drug for anxiety, its most popular brand being Xanax. Hydrocodone and Oxycodone are pain relievers.
Roork said these drugs have led to the biggest problem for law enforcement that Fulton County has ever had to deal with. Unlike street drugs, he said, people have legal prescriptions. Roork said no physicians in Salem are responsible for the current problem with the drugs.