The Allegiant Experts Blog has never kept secret that the United States of America is dealing with far more than just one pandemic. In addition to COVID-19 and the continued acts of hatred, racism, bigotry and intolerance is yet another crisis that is plaguing the nation. The opioid crisis is taking lives at an alarming rate. As reported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, nearly 50,000 people in the United States died from opioid-involved overdoses in 2019.
“The misuse of and addiction to opioids - including prescription pain relievers, heroin, and synthetic opioids such as fentanyl - is a serious national crisis that affects public health as well as social and economic welfare,” reports their website, “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that the total ‘economic burden’ of prescription opioid misuse alone in the United States is $78.5 billion a year, including the costs of healthcare, lost productivity, addiction treatment, and criminal justice involvement.”
Two Chicago physicians have been indicted for illegally prescribing opioids.
As reported by the Northern District of Illinois branch of the United States Department of Justice this week, 65 year-old Stanley David Demorest and 62 year-old Nicholas Recchia have been arrested. The duo of doctors was indicted on federal criminal charges. Together, they allegedly prescribed opioids to individuals who lacked legitimate medical needs for the drugs.
As the DoJ report details, Demorest managed Demorest Consultants LLC. The Melrose Park, Illinois-based medical practice employed Recchia as a physician. Between 2015 and 2020, the pair agreed to dispense a number of opioids to numerous patients who visited the facility. Among them were hydrocodone, oxycodone and fentanyl among other controlled substances. None of the recipients had either meaningful physical examinations or medical tests.
Demorest and Recchia knew the patients had no legitimate medical needs for the drugs.
In 2015, Demorest voluntarily surrendered his DEA Registration Number, says the DoJ. As a result, he lost his ability to lawfully prescribe controlled substances. According to the indictment, to issue prescriptions for controlled substances to patients, Demorest used Recchia’s name and DEA Registration Number. The pair also prompted pharmacies to submit numerous claims to Medicare and Medicaid in order to get payment for the illegal prescriptions.
Demorest and Recchia are officially charged with conspiracy to dispense controlled substances outside the usual course of professional practice and without a legitimate medical purpose. In addition, they each face individual counts of health care fraud and unlawful dispensing of controlled substances. Their arraignments in a Chicago federal court have not yet been scheduled.
The opioid crisis cannot be ignored.
It’s incredibly important to understand the ramifications of Demorest and Recchia’s actions. As the National Institute on Drug Abuse reports, an estimated 1.7 million Americans suffered from substance use disorders related to prescription opioid pain relievers in 2017. Prescription opioids were among the main causes of death, along with heroin and illicitly manufactured fentanyl.
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