DEA Arrest Medical Professionals for Opioid Prescribing in California and Hawaii

DEA Arrest Medical Professionals for Opioid Prescribing in California and Hawaii

The Drug Enforcement Administration announced arrests Thursday as part of a three-state investigation it dubbed “Operation Hypocritical Oath.”

Arrests were made in California and Hawaii and arrests may be coming in Nevada soon.

The investigation focused on medical professionals who are believed to have illegally prescribed and dispensed pharmaceutical drugs in the three states.

The Los Angeles Times reported that prosecutors filed charges against nine people in Southern California, including four doctors. Another couple of dozen person identified as street and wholesale-level drug dealers were also arrested.

In Hawaii, seven medical professionals were arrested for their parts in prescribing oxycodone and hydrocodone.

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser quoted John Callery, assistant special agent in charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Honolulu field office, who said that more arrests of Hawaii doctors, nurses and physician’s assistants are likely in the weeks ahead.

Daniel Neil, assistant special agent in charge for the DEA in Las Vegas, indicated that arrests are expected in the future—although none had happened as of Thursday.

investigation, dubbed “Operation Hypocritical Oath,” focused on medical professionals such as doctors, nurse practitioners and physician assistants who illegally prescribed and dispensed pharmaceutical drugs in Nevada, Southern California and Hawaii.
At least two sites were searched in Reno as part of the effort, but no arrests were made as of Thursday, according to Daniel Neill, assistant special agent in charge for the DEA in Las Vegas.

“It’s epic because you’ve got three different states working together at the same time to make sure those that are operating outside their scope are brought to justice or investigated,” Neill said in a phone interview following a news conference in Las Vegas. “This has never been done involving these three states.”

The quote is courtesy of the Reno Gazette.

Federal drug agents have been working for the last year on the investigation which started in California and resulted in the actions taken in Hawaii and Nevada this week.

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Authored by: Ed Coghlan

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Just Stop

“Wherever the art of medicine is loved, there is also a love of humanity.” Hippocrates

There is something so obscene and twisted about the DEA using the title of the Hippocratic Oath in such a manner. It does sound like the doctors were “bad actors” but this mocks the decent physicians who wish to uphold their oath to treat patients humanely. It seems as if the DEA believes that any pain treatment, no matter the underlying disease, is suspicious and that their ultimate goal is remove all pain care through fear and terrorizing of every physician. I am sad for the future-we have entered a very barbaric phase- denial of pain treatment after surgeries, the discounting of patients who have pain, and tying the hands of doctors who know it is best to treat pain. To stop decent, honest doctors who are called to treat suffering and pain, through the Hippocratic Oath is dehumanizing. They know pain is real and are very concerned as to how they will help patients in this climate of over-enforcement.
The DEA needs to get out of medicine-they have no way to evaluate true illness or medical necessity. These DEA tactical teams were designed to go after cartels and criminals -not evaluate painful illnesses! Its illicit drugs that are killing people-focus on that!
Our police have oaths and standards, as do our military forces-what oath is the guiding light for the DEA?

Alan Edwards

This story has little information. And the little information comes from the government- an unreliable source. The busts aren’t described, yet they say everyone will be charged. Then comes civil forfeiture of individual rights and property.
They DEA is apparently running short of chronic pain patients to convict and the violence pitted against non-violent doctors, nurses and invalids.
Despite having a zero death rate attributed to painkillers except for Tylenol and motrin organ failure, my county government is suing private drug companies for 60 million each. These are companies like McKesson, who make top notch medical equipment and bandages as well as safe, lifesaving pharmaceuticals and painkillers. The greedy rush to get money from private sector companies via lawsuits and bail out non- productive in-debt municipalities like Carroll County is swift.
And the DEA, police and my county need more private property to play with. They are the criminals- not the pharmaceutical companies.

Cheryl Beane

What does this article mean ? I do not understand it at all . Will someone please let me know ? I’ve been a pain management patient for over 15 years now and we , in Virginia really don’t have the problems that other states do.
Maybe because our governor is a doctor and is more understanding
Could someone please explain to me what this article means !
Thank you,
Cheryl Beane

Sheseesthrees

Notice a Doctor stops to say…See that’s why we won’t prescribe….shame on all health professionals to look at a patient especially those who cared for said patient their entire life to just one day become Dr Jekyll? I can tell you now, I feel for everyone as a late 30s Survivor of many chronic intractable diseases and pain aswell as botched surgeries and botched hysterectomy at 20- no kids, 6 fig income has been drained of everything and now on the ACA and at end of day its MONEY MONEY MONEY…. once I flipped from PPO to Medicaid ALL my health went spiralling quick as all my great doctors dropped me and I was forced to clinics were NOW your POOR so PAIN DOESN’T EXIST IN THE EYES OF GOVERNMENT AND DOCTORS WHEN YOUR POOR…PERIOD. My Drs ALL stated go pay out of pocket the couple grand, while unable to work and we will give you want ever you want. Why? Cause DEA and FDA, CDC, Governments, Big Pharma all care about one thing – MONEY.
Now comes the HUSTLING…
If you’re in true pain and a fighter you’ll go above and beyond the law and go to streets where people are charging per MG… I know this. So my once covered script that since leaving pain doctor once he flipped to Drug Addiction like ALL are and put me on Butrans and Belbuca cause those scripts cost patients thousands a month, Hello Dr Kick backs, I’m paying street prices of near 3500 US dollars to keep my business afloat and the Dr doesn’t care. Why? Do the math. The Drs HAVE! 120- 30mg x 30= $3,690 a month per patient now on streets. Even pharmaceutical workers are stealing pills and selling them! Everyone is! Kids in my neighborhood are stealing their grandparents medicine, selling it to others and I’m shocked. Why aren’t we talking about this? My last ortho surgeon is STILL operating in my state after several of us filed complaints as he started requesting sexual favors for scripts! Drs KNOW NOW MORE THAN EVER THEY CAN GET AWAY WITH MURDER…… I could shake a stick all day at this.

Holly

Hmmmmmmm, Here’s one thing on my mind. I left my pain management due to the cutbacks. In Dec I went to another one. OMG! I have never been treated with such disrespect! it was cash or credit card…$160 a visit. I was lied to, my meds were cut back even farther than my previous pain management, I was given a different amount all 3 times, and the amount was for a 28 days supply even though the contract said 30 day supply. The drug store didn’t have enuff and when I called the pain Dr. I was told to ‘tough it out” If I was given the 30 day supply I would have been fine. The pain and withdrawal? I would not wish it on anyone EXCEPT PROP, The CDC, DEA etc etc. Now these are the places the DEA need to be pursuing, Not innocent Dr’s who are trying to help us. These kind of places are not helping the situation at all. In other words, basically I was going to a pill mill. I am no longer going there!

I will look for the news article. A lot of time you can read thru the lines if it’s all [edit].

Saying prayers for us all………

More propaganda. After researching I found out some arrests were street vendors. Well they are providers too right?

Dick Nixon wrote a one page letter to the Surgeon General, declaring a National Drug Emergency that authorized the DEA to practice medicine without a license and then lie about it in court. The Surgeon General’s duty under the Controlled Substances Act, is to write the regulations stating what is Prescribing and what is Illegal Drug Diversion. 40 years later with Nixon dead as Alphonse Capone, the DEA continues to break the law and lie about it. These cases should be appealed for lack of jurisdiction. Civilian patients were never under Dick Nixon’s command as he was only Commander In Chief of the Armed Forces and Militia. He had no authority to declare an emergency respecting civilian patients nor to suspend the Surgeon General’s duties nor assign them to the DEA. As is alleged in the Washington v Sessions case presently before the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, Nison declared that bogus National Emergency because his Surgeon General was prepared to issue regulations that legalized cannabis, which would have set free the majority of people DEA had charged with a crime as of that date. It’s past time for patients who need opioids, to intervene in Mr Washington’s cannabis lawsuit, and use the exact same set of inconvenient facts his legal team is learning about the lawless entity Nixon named the DEA, to set all Americans free from this tyranny. Drug abuse is whatever lie the DEA decides to make up. Like their boss Nixon, they are not to be considered crooks because they said so.

Is anyone still well enough to be able to picket with me?

I already have a mlracle of healing promised in HEAVEN….Make sure you do too!!! Doctors cannot help relieve pain anymore. Not for me. I will see you there.Thanks to NPR and all who have written in with ideas and most important prayer!

Katrina Bergman

This is so unfair the pain thqt i had to go trough was inhumane.now i am forced to stay in a wheelchair. Is that fair? You have gone to far!

Billie McCurdy

Are these doctors writing extra prescriptions to get money on the side? Or are they truly trying to treat their chronic pain patients? I know they have busted a lot of doctors writing unnecessary scripts and getting a cut of the money when sold on the streets. But why would they bust a doctor that is trying to help a actual chronic pain patient? Why would they bust a doctor that is trying to make someone that is in horrific pain feel comfortable for What Little Life they have left? I am completely confused by this story.

A. MacKenzie

So what were they doing that was illegal? Is dispensing these drugs now illegal? Not enough information here.

Ok. Just read the Newspaper article.

Sounds criminal to me now.

I won’t pass judgment until the DEA posts the exact CHARGES.

We have no idea what the Drs did.

Operation Hypocritical Oath – sounds more AGENDA driven.

Did the Drs VIOLATE the MME Rule ? Let’s wait and see what happens and what CRIMES were committed.

Leslie Meadows

In 1973 Nixon created ‘the war on drugs’ to create havoc in black community’s & against the anti war hippies.So as far back as the 1890’s opium was used to smear & torment the chinese population then 1919 rolls around to alchohol prohibition. Now they are tormenting,bashing,
arresting,our doctors,nurses etc so now they are removing healthcare & safety,medication that is APPROVED by the FDA. This is different & totally legal right now,I believe we need to protest the laws that allow our care/medications to be jerked away!

Carol

The DEA in Florida did this kind of action. It was so bad that even cancer patients could not get pain medications there. In two years, I could not find a single doctor to manage my pain meds. The answer I got from the so-called best in the area told his nurse to tell me that my only option was to go cold turkey and then come see him. Another doctor told me that he’d treat me except that the DEA would be all over him, and if they didn’t like how he treated me they would close down his practice while they reviewed all his patients.
The DEA has gotten way out of control – they should not be practicing medicine; they should be just tracking overuse and investigating that rather than targeting all doctors.
With the new laws this year, even if a doctor tries to prescribe an unusual amount a pharmacist has to fill it. Insurance companies require prior authorization for such medications. Heck, I can’t even get insulin pump supplies without a prior authorization and I’ve been a type 1 for over 50 years.

old goat

What would it harm the DEA to find legitimate doctors for the patients of these doctors they shut down? Instead they have a nasty habit of confiscating patient files from these doctors and never returning them so the patient is screwed. Since the DEA found these doctors to be operating outside the scope of a medical professional, they should find them a professional operating within the scope. Oh right, it’s just their job to ruin lives, what was I thinking?

Paul Bartolini

This is [edit]. Now that weed is legal the DEA is once again wasting taxpayers money going after doctors. Stop this insanity, the only ones being hurt are those in chronic pain.

Harry

yes, illegal prescribing is wrong. If Drs. are not illegal prescribing these drugs, there isn’t a problem

Heather

Maureen, no. The DEA is on a witchhunt. Sure, there are some crooked doctors but they “investigate” by storming into a doctor’s office, freezing accounts, making sure the raid ends up on the news (it’s called “shock and awe”)… they send all the patients out, take computers and files. This is before a doctor is even determined to be innocent or guilty. The damage that these “investigations” alone cause is meant to affect the doctor’s reputation and prevent them from practicing for a prolonged period (how can they function without patient records, access to accounts, computers…?).

Sometimes they blame the doctor for improperly documenting something, which may be an unintentional error… but they found something so that the doctor is GUILTY. Even if it’s not any indication that the doctor improperly was dispensing opioids.

This is the government waging war on chronic pain patients. Here’s a documentary that is worth watching to understand: https://watch.montanapbs.org/video/painful-truth-painful-truth/
It talks about how the DEA targets doctors and it’s really just a very helpful video to watch to get a full perspective on the DEA’s war.

I do want to type more but I’m flat out exhausted but still have 2 1/2 hours here at the office now it’s the end of the week and I’m desperately hoping caffeine will let me do something productive. It’s Friday and I’m very motivated but my body just isn’t letting me push any more.

Carl Dunn

As I read this article, it strikes me that the authoritarian government led by the big Pharma lobby is attacking doctors who prescribe pain meds to their patients, most likely an amount that would cause attention in the automatic computer system that tracks where and how much pills are being sold at certain pharmacies. The NSA does track all data in America if not the world. However, this is a system bound by rules, so that if an illegal crime ring or opportunistic regimes such as China or N. Korea flood the shores of our country with fentanyl, or across the borders, the DEA cannot track them so easily. So, these poor doctors are low hanging fruit and easy pickings as they follow the rules. However, pain patients cry to get more medicine for their pain, and what are sympathetic doctors to do? Say no? Say suffer because the government needs a sound bite for good public relations to show they are doing something about the supposed opiate crises? What about the smugglers? What do they say? Can’t catch ’em! Too hard! They hide! What a corrupt world we live in! We need our congress and senate to stop this harassment of doctors merely responding to their cries of pain from legitimate chronic pain patients. Yes there will be a few who break the rules for money, but the opiate crises is a “trumped up” crises (excuse the pun), because the real crises is smuggled fentanyl across the borders!

Dale

Whole lot of missing information in this article. What had the people arrested actually done?

PAM

This is So CRUEL!! When our Pets need care, we get it for them, we don’t want them to suffer…so why is it becoming illegal for Pts who Suffer Chronic Conditions and have PROOF of this, get punished and there Drs too

Goodsbee

lies based upon lies – DEA hires private detectives to infiltrate doctors offices; under the premise they are in Chronic pain – they lie to the doctors ” like used car salesman “.

so why would I prescribe to anyone ? when I could be setup by the person who claims they are in Chronic pain?

The constant barrage of unethical conduct by law enforcement officials – is at an epidemic rate .

The effort by law-enforcement is to publicly execute doctors; whether they are guilty or not of any crime remains unclear and we must differ to innocent until proven guilty .

law-enforcement doesn’t see it that way – by publication of their actions – they attempt to sway public opinion rather than any factual convictions based upon an impartial jury.

There is no justice here to be found.

doctors will take a plea deal …. because it is cost prohibited to fight the government officials – just like a bad HOA – they use your own money against you! Whether you’re innocent or guilty they will claim “by excepting the plea deal” that you were guilty enough – when this may not be true at all.

The DEA is only making noise – to cover up the fact that they are responsible for a million more chronic pain patients being forced into the black market… as the DEA collapses under its own administration of incompetence by interfering with the doctor patient relationship .

Not everyone at the DEA is incompetent; it’s amazing …the most incompetent people find a way to get into positions that they are not qualified to Be in… I work in the government I know this to be true .

but once that level of incompetence “obtains those type of high level positions” … logic disappears over political achievement.

narcissistic sociopaths, behavior disorder that will not allow them to bond with other human beings .

40 million chronic pain sufferers on the black market – sounds like job security for the DEA . Now that marijuana is being legalized.

Rosalind Rivera

This is one of the primary reasons why many people suffering from chronic pain are being persecuted by those in authority! They should be held liable for their actions and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law!

M Billeaudeaux

I agree with Dee this is criminal behavior against all Chronic Pain Patients, not only from the DEA but from any physician, NA prescribing illegal drugs illegally, whatever that was and we really don’t know if what these medical professionals actually did, right? They could be prescribing to Chronic Pain Patients legally, who knows anymore. It’s not the fault of the patients that some abuse medications, so why punish them? There has to be a solution in order for those who legally take their medications as ordered by their doctor and who don’t abuse or sell their medications not be affected by these raids and crackdowns. I read hundreds of patients are losing their medicine, therefore losing their lives. Help us live as close to normal as possible, you would want that for yourselves. Don’t punish us just because we are in pain.

Thomas Kidd

We are now live in a country that is far worse than Russia. In will not be surprised if chronic pain sufferers are arrested as well. I am so ashamed to my country. And if I could move to Canada. Our government is totally out of it’s mind. Compassion for the sick and dying is gone. Doctors fear to practice their profession and will not stand by their patients, of at least a great number of them won’t. I am much worried about myself as a chronic pain sufferer as all those out there who are sufferings along with me. All this so-called war on illegal drugs and prescription drug abuse has done so far is create more criminals causing people who would never have thought of doing such to look for pain relief on the streets. Dann a bunch of people who continue to
try to legislate morality. Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it over and over again. Modern education is sickening to say the least. Love for others and care of our neighbors is in minute supply and becoming less each day. Judgment day is coming in this earth to the wicked and uncaring and again at The Judgment. People prepare yourselves for the great troubles coming our way, sooner than most dare to believe. I feel for may people in paint. Thank god for allowing me to comment. As thanks for the work you’re doing.

Dee

They finally raided my Dr. It is criminal behavior against Chronic Pain Patients. Don’t know what to do at this point. Our Government has betrayed us and it seems like all the talk in the world and all of the science and factual evidence in the world will not change that.

Maureen M.

I find it amazingly stupid that those doctors, nurses and others being arrested are STILL doing the wrong thing in spite of the DEA crackdown the past 4 years. But then again, are we getting the whole DEA truth here?

Longtime Rsd dude

The fear mongering is out of control. Start w The President’s Opioid Commission,:The CDC & especially the DEA I’m appalled at the language they use towards our Medical Professionals.

The Doctors here it appears had it coming and were breaking the law. The harassment being directed towards all Doctors in my opinion is out of control right now. The DEA is shutting down, forcing out of business Pain Management Practices all over, other Doctors are leaving pain management and others retire.

There is not much compassion in this administration in fact they are very sketchy.

Glen

It’s ironic they called it operation Hippocratic oath because the Drs would have to go Against their oath in order to please the DEA scum! This is just more of the same [edit] of our DEA going after good Drs only for the DEA to make money.
Pathetic and Disgusting!

Gary Raymond

After 3 years of intense scrutiny and enforcement, how are great quantities of manufactured drugs still being dumped on the streets? The DEA must stake out the back doors of big pharma warehouses and their trucks and not the homes of people in pain. Do large numbers of vaccines become unaccounted for each season? How about chemical warfare devices? Has anyone checked out the flu death statistics on the CDC web site? They do not know anything. “Sheer numbers” make it impossible for them to report flu deaths. They wrote “Sheer numbers”. It is time the CDC and big pharma are called to task.

D. isgraceful
E. gotistical
A. rrogant

Joseph Lane

And the point of this story is????

Debbie Nickels Heck, MD

And patients wonder why their Drs are are so reluctant to prescribe pain meds for them.