Dozens of individuals, together with 53 medical professionals, have been charged for his or her alleged participation within the illegal prescription and distribution of opioids and different narcotics, Justice Division and Division of Well being and Human Companies officers stated Wednesday. Federal regulation enforcement and well-being officers held a press convention in Cincinnati the place they introduced fees ensuing from the Appalachian Regional Prescription Opioid Strike Power takedown operation that started solely four months in the past.
“The opioid epidemic is the deadliest drug disaster in American historical past, and Appalachia has suffered the results greater than maybe another area,” Lawyer Common William P. Barr stated in a press release. “However the Division of Justice is doing its half to assist finish this disaster. One of many Division’s most promising new initiatives is the Prison Division’s Appalachian Regional Prescription Opioid Strike Power (ARPO), which started its work in December.
“The costs leveled by the ARPO Strike Power contain over 350,000 prescriptions and over 32 million drugs distributed out by well-being care officers throughout several states, together with Ohio, Tennessee, Alabama, West Virginia, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, and Florida. Thirty-one docs, seven pharmacists and eight nurse practitioners have been charged on Wednesday. Among the examples of medical malfeasance discovered within the indictment are placing of their scope.
The indictment lists different alleged abuses by medical professionals that embody filling fraudulent prescriptions, prescribing opioids to recognized addicts, and offering Fb pals with opioid prescriptions primarily based on messenger requests.
“Opioid misuse and abuse is an insidious epidemic, created largely, by the over-prescribing of potent opioids nationwide, and sadly, Appalachia is on the middle,” mentioned John Martin, Drug Enforcement Company Assistant Administrator, on Wednesday.
“At this time’s announcement sends a transparent message that investigations involving diversion of pharmaceuticals have been, and proceed to be, precedence for DEA.”In keeping with the Heart of Illness Management, roughly 115 Individuals die day by day from opioid-associated overdoses. The Nationwide Institute of Drug Abuse calculated that over 70,000 Individuals died of drug abuse in 2017, together with 47,000 from any opioid and 28,400 from fentanyl and its analogs.