At least 60 medical professionals and pharmacists allegedly prescribed millions of opioid pills to patients who didn’t need them.
On April 17, the Justice Department announced it’s charging 31 doctors, eight nurse practitioners, seven pharmacists, and other medical professionals for crimes related to prescribing 32 million opioid pills.
“If so-called medical professionals behave like drug dealers, the Department of Justice is going to treat them like drug dealers,” Assistant Attorney General Brian Benczkowski stated.
The Justice Department listed shocking examples of medical malpractice in its announcement. One doctor in Tennessee, who described himself as the “Rock Doc,” allegedly exchanged opioids and benzos for sexual favors. A pharmacy in Ohio was nicknamed “pill mill” for allegedly prescribing 1.75 million opioid pills across two years.
The DOJ charges come less than four months after the feds created a task force devoted to aiding areas among the hardest hit by the opioid epidemic.
Nearly 50,000 American died from opioid overdoses in 2017 alone. The DOJ charges span several states in Appalachia, including Ohio, Tennessee, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania.
“The opioid epidemic is the deadliest drug crisis in American history, and Appalachia has suffered the consequences more than perhaps any other region,” Attorney General William P. Barr stated.