Among those charges are a Dayton, Ohio pharmacy that prescribed over 1.75 million opioid pills between October 2015 and October 2017 and a Tennessee doctor that allegedly prescribed approximately 4.2 million opioid pills.
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.
According to a release from the U.S. Attorneys Office for the Western District of Virginia, an investigation by the Appalachian Regional Prescription Opioid Strike Force has resulted in action against 60 people in 11 federal districts.
They are all facing charges for allegedly participating in the illegal prescribing and distribution of opioids and other risky narcotics and for health care fraud schemes.
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Several doctors were accused of writing pre-signed, blank prescriptions for controlled substances without medically examining the patients that received them.
For a decade, the United States has been battered by a massive addiction crisis that was centered mainly on s prescription opioid painkillers but, after a crackdown, has since branched out into heroin and fentanyl, an extremely unsafe synthetic opioid. The alleged illegal prescriptions, which total more than 350,000, were written in Ohio, Kentucky, Alabama, Tennessee or West Virginia. Another doctor in Alabama allegedly recruited prostitutes to become patients at his clinic and allowed them to abuse drugs in his home. "But the Department of Justice is doing its part to help end this crisis". Charges have also been filed in Pennsylvania and Louisiana. "One of the Department's most promising new initiatives is the Criminal Division's Appalachian Regional Prescription Opioid Strike Force (ARPO), which began its work in December".
One Tennessee doctor alone, who the The Washington Post writes branded himself the "Rock Doc", allegedly prescribed almost 500,000 hydrocodone pills, 300,000 oxycodone pills, 1,500 fentanyl patches, and more than 600,000 benzodiazepines. "Just four months later, this team of federal agents and 12 prosecutors has charged 60 defendants for alleged crimes related to millions of prescriptions".
Attorney General Barr and U.S. Attorney Thomas T. Cullen also announced that the ARPO Strike Force will expand into the Western District of Virginia, which covers the Shenandoah Valley.