Arresting The Opioid Epidemic Includes Arresting Doctors, Nurses And Pharmacists

By Dr. John Rosa

Opioid Epidemic

The Opioid Epidemic Has Reached Crisis Proportions

As a country in an enormous crisis that is ending the lives of roughly 130 Americans every day, it’s a difficult problem to address. With 80% of heroin users stating they started with a prescription opioid it is clear that a majority of our epidemic was initiated by a medical system meant to protect us. Early on in the push to treat pain as the 5th vital sign doctors prescribing opioids were given false information that the medication was not addictive, and they were convinced by big pharma and the government to aggressively treat pain. For this reason, I give the medical system a pass during the first few years of over prescribing. The problem arises when the medical system turned a blind eye to dependency and addiction of their patient base and even worse there are way too many that let greed trump life. And now, it seems, instead of following the Hippocratic Oath, many doctors and other health professionals have become hypocrites.

Focus On An Area Where Addiction Has Taken A Heavy Toll

One way to put a stop to the problem is for law enforcement agencies to focus on the source of easy access to drugs. This has actually proved to be a somewhat successful strategy which led to the recent arrest of at least 60 “healthcare” individuals. As a recent article that came to my attention says, “Dozens of U.S. health care professionals have been charged for health care fraud schemes and illegally prescribing and distributing opioids and other dangerous narcotics in the latest federal enforcement action addressing the nation’s opioid crises. The crackdown involves 60 individuals, and more than a quarter million illegal prescriptions written in several states. The medical professionals include doctors, pharmacists and nurse practitioners.

Chronic pain affects 1 in 5 Americans.

Pain reduction and relief is a priority in the medical field. However, when you see a particular area of the county experiencing an alarming rate of opioid deaths, that might be an area to focus on when looking for the source of the problem. This is what the Department of Justice (DOJ) did when they focused on Appalachia, in an attempt to cut off the flow of too many opioids in an area where addiction has already taken a heavy toll.

As Brian Banczkowski who runs the DOJ’s criminal division told, “You can rest assured, when medical professionals behave like drug dealers, the Department of Justice is going to treat them like drug dealers.”

It’s a beginning, albeit a small one. As law enforcement looks more closely at all medical professionals prescribing opioids, distribution companies, pharma and its CEOs there will be more arrests. And more importantly, maybe we’ll arrest the problem of the untimely deaths of so many loved ones.

Examples Of Medical Professionals’ Criminal Behavior

Just in case you’re wondering how they do it, I’ve taken this example from the Department of Justice website. It’s pretty nefarious behavior for those that so many people trust with their lives. Here’s how one doctor operated. “A neurologist at an alleged pill mill was charged with conspiracy to dispense controlled substances and conspiracy to commit health care fraud. The defendant allegedly pre-signed prescriptions for controlled substances, including oxycodone, for patients whom he did not personally examine to determine medical necessity for the prescriptions, and pre-signed prescriptions for controlled substances while he was travelling internationally. The defendant allegedly knew that certain of these patients used their Medicare Part D and Medicaid benefits to pay for the medically unnecessary prescriptions.”

The information on the website includes the following:

“Since its inception in March 2007, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, which maintains 14 strike forces operating in 23 districts, has charged nearly 4,000 defendants who have collectively billed the Medicare program for more than $14 billion. The Medicare Fraud Strike Force, including the ARPO Strike Force, has charged more than 200 individuals with opioid-related crimes.”

A Doctor Who Called Himself “The Candy Man” Faces 20 Years In Prison

Another recent case of arrest involves a New Jersey doctor who called himself “candy man” and “El Chapo of opioids.” According to NBC News, “He is accused of distributing opioids without a legitimate medical reason and falsifying medical records to cover it up, according to federal prosecutors. The court documents go on to allege that Delagente allowed patients to ask him for controlled substances via text message and would write a prescription for patients that he would leave at the front desk, without requiring an office visit or consultation of any kind.”

You Can Help

It’s time to put an end to this madness. If someone you love is dependent on or addicted to opioid drugs, please seek help before it’s too late. If you would like to learn more about the Opioid Crisis as it relates to awareness, prevention and treatment or schedule a corporate or organization seminar contact us at Here you will learn how to connect with the leading experts on the crisis and how to help your community stay safe.