Seniors are selling their prescription medication to drug dealers for food, police in Cumberland County, N.S., say.
Drug dealers are approaching them and offering to give them groceries, or money, in exchange for their medicine. RCMP said the narcotics are worth a lot of money on the black market. Each pill can fetch $50.
Cst. Paul Vincent said prescription pain killers have become the drug of choice for many in Cumberland County. Only marijuana is more popular.
Vincent said dealers and addicts are relying on seniors for prescribed drugs like hydromorphone, dilaudid and oxycodone. The drugs manage chronic pain.
"When you've got seniors that need these prescription narcotics for pain and they get issued 60, 90, 120 a month, and a lot of these seniors are going through tough times financially ... the money can be quite enticing," he said.
Could face charges
That increases drug use, street crime and drug overdose, he said.
Vincent said seniors should keep the drugs locked up, as drug users have entered homes to steal pills.
"If you are approached with regard to trading or exchanging for money these narcotics, obviously you don't want to do that. These drugs get into the wrong hands and a lot of times into the hands of our youth. We can have dramatic and drastic consequences," he said.
He also warned that regardless of what the drugs are exchanged for, it is a crime and seniors could be charged with trafficking drugs.
The same is true for anyone who hands on their prescribed medication for money, groceries or services.