60 people, including doctors, charged in U.S. opioid prescription scheme

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CINCINNATI — Federal authorities mentioned Wednesday they’ve charged 60 folks, together with 31 medical doctors, for his or her roles in illegally prescribing and distributing tens of millions of drugs containing opioids and different harmful medication.

U.S. Legal professional Benjamin Glassman of Cincinnati described the motion as the most important identified takedown but of drug prescribers. Robert Duncan, U.S. legal professional for japanese Kentucky, referred to as the medical doctors concerned “white-coated drug sellers.”

READ MORE: No silver bullet resolution to B.C.’s opioid epidemic three years into public well being emergency

Authorities mentioned the 60 contains 53 medical professionals tied to some 350,000 prescriptions and 32 million drugs. The operation was carried out by the federal Appalachian Regional Prescription Opioid Strike Drive, launched final yr by the Trump administration.

Authorities mentioned arrests have been being made and search warrants carried out as they introduced the costs at a information convention. They didn’t instantly title these being charged.

U.S. well being authorities have reported there have been greater than 70,000 drug overdose deaths in 2017, for a fee of 21.7 per 100,000 folks. West Virginia and Ohio have repeatedly been among the many states with the very best overdose demise charges because the opioid disaster has swelled lately.

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Amongst these charged was a Tennessee physician who dubbed himself the “Rock Doc” and is accused of prescribing harmful mixtures of medication corresponding to fentanyl and oxycodone, generally in trade for intercourse, authorities mentioned

Others embrace a Kentucky physician who’s accused of writing prescriptions to Fb buddies who got here to his dwelling to select them up, one other who allegedly left signed clean prescriptions for employees to fill out and provides to sufferers he hadn’t seen, and a Kentucky dentist accused of eradicating tooth unnecessarily and scheduling unneeded follow-up appointments.

A Dayton, Ohio, physician was accused of working a “tablet mill” that allegedly distributed 1.75 million drugs in a two-year interval. Authorities mentioned an Alabama physician recruited prostitutes and different girls he had sexual relations with to his clinic and allowed them to abuse medication in his dwelling.

READ MORE: Greater than 10,000 Canadians died from opioid overdoses in lower than three years, PHAC says

Most of these charged got here from the 5 strike power states of Alabama, Kentucky, Ohio, Tennessee and West Virginia. One particular person every was additionally arrested in Pennsylvania and Louisiana.

“The opioid disaster is the deadliest drug disaster in American historical past, and Appalachia has suffered the implications greater than maybe some other area,” U.S. Legal professional Normal William Barr mentioned in an announcement in Washington.

Related Press reporter John Minchillo in Cincinnati contributed.

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