By Ed Coghlan.
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration reports it is increasing the pressure on prescribers and pharmacies that it believes “dispensed disproportionately large amounts of controlled prescriptions.”
For 45 days in February and March, the DEA used special agents, diversion investigators and intelligence research specialists who developed what the press release says are 366 leads to DEA field offices—about half of which resulted in active investigations.
This resulted in 28 arrests, 54 other enforcement actions including search warrants and administrative inspection warrants, and 283 administrative actions of other types. These additional actions included scheduled inspections, letters of admonition, memoranda of agreement/understanding, surrenders for cause of DEA registrations, orders to show cause, and immediate suspension orders (the immediate revocation of registrations).
“DEA will use every criminal, civil, and regulatory tool possible to target, prosecute and shut down individuals and organizations responsible for the illegal distribution of addictive and potentially deadly pharmaceutical controlled substances,” said Acting DEA Administrator Robert W. Patterson. “This surge effort has demonstrated an effective roadmap to proactively target illicit diversion of dangerous pharmaceuticals. DEA will continue to aggressively use this targeting playbook in continuing operations. Attorney General Sessions and the Department of Justice have provided tremendous leadership and support in this critical mission. We must stop the loss of our loved ones to these drugs.”
The press release promises that the DEA plans to keep the pressure on.
DEA works with various federal and state partners on data sharing agreements to enhance its ability to identify individuals and companies who are contributing to the prescription opioid crisis, including a coalition of 41 state attorneys general and the Department of Justice’s Opioid Fraud and Detection Unit, an initiative of Attorney General Jeff Sessions. It is also dedicating additional resources to its domestic divisions to carry out investigations.