SCOTTSBURG, Ind. (WDRB) -- Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller says prescription drug abuse is a nationwide problem born from the over-prescription of powerful opiates and narcotics.

On Thursday, he spoke to community leaders in Scottsburg. With the drug use and HIV epidemic going on there, officials have had to act quickly to find solutions.

Zoeller says that's why his prescription drug task force is in place.

"We also can bring together a complete range from law enforcement, prosecutors, judges, different branches of our state government," Zoeller said. "We can work with the doctors, the prescribers, the pharmacists."

AG Zoeller says drug addiction can start with a simple injury and an over-prescription by a doctor.

He says since he's been in office, they've gone after 17 doctors and taken away their medical licenses.

"They were taking cash, lines outside the doctor's office, people parked out in the neighborhoods," Zoeller told WDRB. "There are a lot of red flags it's just a pill mill."

He says it's a problem everywhere.

"Well, I don't know that I would say it's just unique to Scott County," he said. "Quite frankly, the drop-off since we passed a new law and a new rule -- there's been an 11 percent drop-off across the state."

Zoeller couldn't talk about any current investigations.

"Well, we do investigations as part of our Medicaid Fraud Control Unit. We're not allowed to discuss any[thing] specific unless or until we bring in action," he said.

Zoeller says it's not always the doctor's fault. There are some patients who "doctor shop," meaning they go to several different doctors to get pills.

Dr. Will Cooke's practice is in Austin, Indiana. He says there are ways to identify patients who are "doctor shopping."

"There's a database that we basically can just pull up on our computer. We can tell right then and there if someone has had several different prescriptions filled," he said.

"It's not just in Scott County. Frankly, it's an epidemic around the country. The number of overdose deaths exceeds auto accidents in the United States,” said Zoeller.

If you'd like to learn more about the prescription drug task force, click here.

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