(WTVM) - Tens of thousands of prescription pills are now off the streets after a drug bust in Troup County cut a major supply of Xanax and Percocet in the Valley, and it all happened on a busy interstate many of us have been on.
Troup County deputies say the drugs they seized on I-85 have a street value of nearly $500,000.
"Approximately 40,000 Xanax pills, and what we understand, that's probably the largest in this area and probably in the South-East," said Troup County deputy Stewart Smith.
An early August Troup County traffic stop turned drug bust is now going down as one of the largest seizures of prescription drugs our area has ever seen.
"Prescription drug abuse is pretty high at this point," said Smith.
35-year-old Nicholas Antoine of Atlanta is now behind bars after officials say they found bags of pills as well as 11 pounds of marijuana in his car during a traffic stop, as Antoine headed south on I-85.
"Up and down interstate 85 and 1-85 in Columbus there is a large amount of illegal drugs that goes up and down these interstates," said Smith.
Sheriff Stephen Jessup of McIntosh County, which is in Southeast Georgia, is also well aware of the drug issues facing the Peach State.
"There was about 20 and 25 places through out our county that you could just pull up to in your automobile and they would give you curb service," said Jessup.
Since his seven years in office, he says he's cleaned up his community a lot, but is now resorting to tactics getting national attention.
"Well no, it's never been a joke," said Jessup as he discussed putting an advertisement in the area's local paper, encouraging drug dealers to turn their competitors in.
Jessup explains it's a smart business move for criminals, and a good way to keep dwindling the drugs hitting the streets of Georgia.
"A disease [drugs] throughout our nation as well as the world, if you aren't diligent in attacking it, it pops back up, creeps back up and grows," said Jessup.
Officials also encourage people to properly dispose of their prescription drugs that are no longer needed, that way they don't end up on the streets or in the wrong hands.