Ohio, Kentucky doctors among 60 charged in pain pill bust 'acted like drug dealers' - Wrestling Forum: WWE, AEW, New Japan, Indy Wrestling, Women of Wrestling Forums
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-17-2019, 01:20 PM Thread Starter
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Ohio, Kentucky doctors among 60 charged in pain pill bust 'acted like drug dealers'

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2...csp=chromepush

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Ohio, Kentucky doctors among 60 charged in pain pill bust 'acted like drug dealers'

Terry DeMio, Dan Horn and Kevin Grasha, Cincinnati Enquirer Published

11:00 a.m. ET April 17, 2019 | Updated 11:42 a.m. ET April 17, 2019

Federal prosecutors charged 60 physicians and pharmacists Wednesday with illegally handing out opioid prescriptions in what they say is the biggest crackdown of its kind in U.S. history.

A special strike force from the U.S. Department of Justice, which led the investigation, began making arrests in five states early Wednesday.

Most of the defendants face charges of unlawful distribution of controlled substances involving prescription opioids. Authorities say they gave out about 350,000 prescriptions, totaling more than 32 million pills, in Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, West Virginia and Alabama.

Prosecutors said more than 28,000 patients were affected by the arrests and described the doctors involved as drug dealers, rather than medical professionals.

"If so-called medical professionals are going to behave like drug dealers, we're going to treat them like drug dealers," said Brian Benczkowski, an assistant attorney general. The defendants are accused of writing or filling prescriptions outside the course of medical practices and prescribing them despite having no legitimate medical reasons to do so, he said.

The Appalachian Regional Prescription Strike Force included more than 300 investigators from jurisdictions in all five states. Though targeting illegal prescriptions was a priority, federal officials say it wasn't the only goal.

In a first-of-its-kind effort, the federal criminal investigators are linking with public health to try to guide those who received the rogue prescriptions to addiction treatment, said Benjamin Glassman, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio.

Glassman said authorities recognize that closing clinics and arresting those who ran them won't solve the addiction problems of the patients who received the prescriptions. to help, he said, a public health official will be stationed at every clinic affected by the arrests.

The hope is "when these facilities are taken down, there are resources in place to give the best possible chance for those victims to get proper treatment," Glassman said.

"Opioids are the public health and safety crisis of our lifetime," he said. "This innovation, I hope, will be a road map for the future."

The strike force, which was created to attack the opioid epidemic late in 2018, worked a two-part investigation. First, they used data analytics including prescription data monitoring programs from the states and Medicaid billing to identify potential offenders. Then they followed up with undercover operations and traditional, boots-on-the-ground law enforcement to zero in on suspects.

"We wanted to move quickly," Benczkowski said. The investigation by 300 agents went from January to Wednesday.

Federal prosecutors said the impact of illegal prescriptions is especially devastating to rural communities, where patients often have limited options when seeking medical help. If the doctor those patients see is peddling illegal prescriptions, prosecutors said, the damage to small towns can be dramatic.

The arrests Wednesday removed many doctors who "are simply white-coated drug dealers," said J. Douglas Overbey, U.S. Attorney in the Eastern District of Tennessee.

The arrests included a doctor in Kentucky who is accused of signing off on prescriptions via Facebook, without ever seeing the patients. Other doctors are accused of handing out pills directly for cash payments, including to pregnant women.

The defendant list includes 31 doctors, 22 other licensed medical professionals and seven others who are owners, operators or clinic employees, Benczkowski said.

Thousands of people would have received the illicit prescriptions. "It's enough pills for every man, woman and child to get one dose across the five states," he said.

Some people were given treatments that they did not need in order to get the prescriptions filled. He mentioned a dentist who is accused of unnecessarily pulling a patient's teeth.

The range of schemes included sending patients across state borders to see another general practitioner, writing prescriptions at different intervals rather than the originally prescribed number of days, and having patients fill prescriptions at different pharmacies.

The Appalachian region has been hard hit by the opioid epidemic. Ohio was second in the nation for overall overdose deaths and Kentucky ranked fifth in 2017. West Virginia was first, CDC data show.

"Opioid misuse and abuse is an insidious epidemic," said John Martin, assistant administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration. "Unfortunately, Appalachia is at the center of it.

Prescription opioid overdose deaths in Ohio dropped 28 percent since 2001 even as the synthetic fentanyl took over and overall overdose deaths kept rising. Yet the prescription opioid issue remains critical, Glassman said. About 80 percent of people who use heroin first misused prescription opioids, according to National Institute on Drug Abuse statistics.

Last year, as part of a nationwide healthcare fraud enforcement action, federal officials announced charges against 162 people for their alleged roles in prescribing and distributing opioids and other narcotics.

Doctors at two Hamilton medical clinics that prosecutors called “pill mills” were among those charged.

At one of the clinics, Cincinnati Centers for Pain Relief, officials said patients were often prescribed fentanyl, oxycodone, morphine and other highly addictive drugs without being seen by a doctor.

Across America, almost 218,000 people died from overdoses related to prescription opioids from from 1999 to 2017, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Overdose deaths involving prescription opioids were five times higher in 2017 than in 1999.

Cincinnati.com will update this story.
That area in southern Ohio/northern Kentucky around Cincinnati seemed to be one of the most critical hubs of this matter at its most exacerbated.
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-17-2019, 01:37 PM
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Re: Ohio, Kentucky doctors among 60 charged in pain pill bust 'acted like drug dealers'

3 of the 4 opioid epidemics in American history (post-Civil War, post-WWI, currently ongoing one) were caused by doctors overprescribing opiates. The first two were well-intentioned mistakes. This one appears to be a mixture of well-intentioned mistakes, and criminal greed.

The 1970s epidemic was caused by 'Nam creating opportunities to make connections with Golden Triangle opium/heroin producers and creating opportunities for cheap mass shipment to the States.

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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-17-2019, 04:34 PM
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Re: Ohio, Kentucky doctors among 60 charged in pain pill bust 'acted like drug dealers'

Over-prescribed opiates nearly ruined my brother's life. I don't buy the personal responsibility argument, the idea that these people are addicts and junkies that would abuse something else if they couldn't get their hands on these pills. My brother never did drugs, never drank or smoked, until he tore his knee apart playing soccer and needed pain medication after his surgery. The next thing you know, after doctors prescribing him Oxy long after he really needed it finally stopped, he's stealing from me and my parents and his girlfriend and best friends to get his hands on more pills.

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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-18-2019, 09:42 AM
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Re: Ohio, Kentucky doctors among 60 charged in pain pill bust 'acted like drug dealers'

Good.

About time someone held these people accountable, the pharma companies need to be hit too.

No way they didn't notice odd trends with opiates and the surge in demand for them.

This is also on many Politicians too, they knew how bad the epidemic was but sat on their hands because they were getting kickbacks.

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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-20-2019, 11:47 AM
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Re: Ohio, Kentucky doctors among 60 charged in pain pill bust 'acted like drug dealers'

Let's not ignore the Pharmaceutical companies' role in all of this. You know how authoritarian this is? Instead of reforming the prison system, drug laws and going after the pharmas which peddle this shit, manipulate and "incentiviz" (read: bribe) the doctors to over-prescribe we're sending even more people to jail. Not surprised that they only sent Doctors and Pharmacists. What about the Drug companies and their marketing managers?

But of course, we can forget about that happening because those are the billionaire buddies of the establishment.
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-20-2019, 12:07 PM
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Re: Ohio, Kentucky doctors among 60 charged in pain pill bust 'acted like drug dealers'

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Originally Posted by Reaper View Post
Let's not ignore the Pharmaceutical companies' role in all of this. You know how authoritarian this is? Instead of reforming the prison system, drug laws and going after the pharmas which peddle this shit, manipulate and "incentiviz" (read: bribe) the doctors to over-prescribe we're sending even more people to jail. Not surprised that they only sent Doctors and Pharmacists. What about the Drug companies and their marketing managers?

But of course, we can forget about that happening because those are the billionaire buddies of the establishment.
Yup why I said the companies need to be hit next. There's no way their data didn't show a massive uptick in consumption or that some Doctors and areas had massive surges of demand for the opiates.

This should have raised many red flags.

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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-20-2019, 01:43 PM
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Re: Ohio, Kentucky doctors among 60 charged in pain pill bust 'acted like drug dealers'

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Yup why I said the companies need to be hit next. There's no way their data didn't show a massive uptick in consumption or that some Doctors and areas had massive surges of demand for the opiates.

This should have raised many red flags.
Doctors aren't criminals because there's no malicious intent there at all. They're doing what the patients wnat them to do and the pharmaceuticals want them to do. If they refuse the patients, they lose business. If they don't prescribe they get ignored by the pharmaceuticals and you know what it means to be blacklisted by big pharma in America? It's not good.

So even outside of the bribes, there's conferences, medical retreats (which are almost always paid for and organized by big pharma), alienation from the other doctor community, not getting latest literature etc.

Doctors are caught between a rock and a hard place. It's even more fucky that these bastards in governments have big pharma money up their ass as well.

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