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

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

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

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

Authorities mentioned the 60 consists of 53 medical professionals tied to some 350,000 prescriptions and 32 million tablets. The operation was carried out by the federal Appalachian Regional Prescription Opioid Strike Drive, launched final 12 months 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 identify 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 individuals. West Virginia and Ohio have usually 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 combos of medicine similar to fentanyl and oxycodone, generally in change for intercourse, authorities mentioned

Others embrace a Kentucky physician who’s accused of writing prescriptions to Fb associates who got here to his house 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 enamel unnecessarily and scheduling unneeded follow-up appointments.

A Dayton, Ohio, physician was accused of operating a “capsule mill” that allegedly disbursed 1.75 million tablets in a two-year interval. Authorities mentioned an Alabama physician recruited prostitutes and different ladies he had sexual relations with to his clinic and allowed them to abuse medication in his house.

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 pressure states of Alabama, Kentucky, Ohio, Tennessee and West Virginia. One individual 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 results greater than maybe another area,” U.S. Legal professional Common William Barr mentioned in an announcement in Washington.

Related Press reporter John Minchillo in Cincinnati contributed.

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