Crime: Profiting from Pain

Profiting from Pain

A drug ring in West Columbia, S.C., got its goods in a macabre way: from dying cancer victims. In some cases, devious dealers posing as good Samaritans stole Dilaudid pain pills and morphine from patients, leaving their victims with only aspirin to ease their suffering. But police say as many as 20 patients at the Veterans Affairs hospital sold their drugs to dealers. One patient convinced VA officials that he needed 60 Dilaudid a month to treat his severe arthritis. Another made a $1,200 profit, even though the going rate was $10 a pill, a fraction of the $25-to-$45 street value.

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