22 Pharmacists, Doctors Arrested in DEA's Drug Abuse Crackdown

MAY 20, 2015
Meghan Ross, Associate Editor
Twenty-two pharmacists and doctors were arrested in the Drug Enforcement Administration's (DEA) largest-ever operation aimed at curbing prescription drug abuse.

The 15-month “Operation Pilluted” targeted areas in Arkansas, Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi, and a total of 280 people were arrested on charges related to illegal pharmaceutical trafficking activities, the DEA stated in a press release.

The focus of the operation was to find those involved in distributing and prescribing substances such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, and Xanax.

As a result of the operation, 51 vehicles, 202 weapons, and about $404,000 in cash was seized, and 73 seizure warrants led to a seizure of about $11.6 million, plus $6.7 million in real property.

The agency also removed or restricted some DEA registrants from prescribing and dispensing controlled substances. The operation resulted in 2 “immediate suspension” orders. In addition, 40 DEA registrants voluntarily surrendered their registrations.

“DEA is pursuing administrative actions, which may result in the revocation of additional DEA registrations,” the agency said in a press release.

The operation used information from state and local law enforcement, complaints from the public, and intelligence data to investigate DEA registrants.

“DEA is committed to reducing the destruction brought on by the trafficking and abuse of prescription drugs through aggressive criminal enforcement, robust administrative oversight, and strong relationships with other law enforcement agencies, the public, and the medical community,” said DEA Special Agent in-Charge Keith Brown in a press release. “The doctors and pharmacists arrested in Operation Pilluted are nothing more than drug traffickers who prey on the addiction of others while abandoning the Hippocratic Oath adhered to faithfully by thousands of doctors and pharmacists each day across this country.”  

The DEA noted 43,982 deaths related to unintentional drug overdose occurred in 2013, and a little more than half of those overdoses involved prescription drugs. About 16,000 of them were opioid overdoses, according to the DEA. 

“DEA is committed to its pursuit of those who violate the law to divert dangerous pharmaceutical drugs, and to working with other law enforcement and regulatory agencies, the public, and the medical and pharmaceutical communities to reduce the availability of illegal pharmaceuticals and the harm they cause,” the press release stated.
 


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