America’s poorest white town: abandoned by coal, swallowed by drugs

http://www.pharmaciststeve.com/?p=12541

http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/nov/12/beattyville-kentucky-and-americas-poorest-towns

In the first of a series of dispatches from the US’s poorest communities, we visit Beattyville, Kentucky, blighted by a lack of jobs and addiction to painkillers

Leading the blight is a powerful and highly addictive opioid painkiller, OxyContin, known locally as “hillbilly heroin”…

Getting the drugs isn’t difficult. Elderly people sell their prescription drugs to supplement some of the lowest incomes in the US. The national average retirement income is about $21,500. In Beattyville it is $6,500…

Late last year the Beattyville Enterprise reported that pharmacists in the town were appealing to drug companies for greater control over another prescription medicine, Neurontin, which is increasingly in demand and has been found at the scene of overdose deaths. Heroin use is also on the rise.

Ask where people get the money for drugs and just about everyone blames it on welfare in general and the trade in what is known locally as “pop” – soft drinks – in particular.

Close to 57% of Beattyville residents claim food stamps. They are paid by electronic transfer on the first of the month. That same day, cases of Pepsi and Coca-Cola are marked down sharply in supermarkets and disappear off the shelves, often paid for with food stamps.

They are then sold on to smaller stores at a lower price than they would pay a distributor, in effect turning several hundred dollars of food stamps into cash at about 50 cents on the dollar…

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2 thoughts on “America’s poorest white town: abandoned by coal, swallowed by drugs

  1. I live in southern Indiana right across the river from Kentucky, it’s just not Beattyville, KY most of Eastern Kentucky is awash in this culture. Food stamp fraud, disability fraud, anything to scam a dime to buy more drugs.

    Liked by 1 person

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