The opioid crisis in America is certainly no joke. The Allegiants Experts Blog has highlighted the impact of opioids on Americans many times before, also revealing the many efforts made to stop the crisis. As a reminder, opioids are a family of drugs that are usually prescribed to relieve pain. They include codeine (which can be found in Tylenol No. 2, No. 3 and No. 4), oxycodone, morphine, hydromorphone (Dilaudid) and fentanyl.
When opioids are used and abused without prescription, the results are often disastrous.
As Josh Katz and Margot Sanger-Katz report for The New York Times, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that drug overdoses killed more than 70,000 Americans in 2017. It set a new record. “Overdose deaths are higher than deaths from H.I.V., car crashes or gun violence at their peaks,” writes the duo.
Yesterday, the United States Department of Justice announced that no less than 60 people were charged as part of a sting operation known as the Appalachian Regional Prescription Opioid Surge Takedown. The defendants span across 11 federal districts and include 31 doctors, seven pharmacists, eight nurse practitioners, and seven other licensed medical professionals.
The scheme involved the illegal prescribing and distributing of opioids.
34 year-old Tayjha Brown of Coatesville, Pennsylvania is one of the individuals who was charged in the takedown. As Fran Maye of DailyLocal.com reports, the former licensed practical nurse was indicted along with over 50 other medical professionals as part of a sting operation known as the Appalachian Regional Prescription Opioid Surge Takedown.
She was charged with one count of conspiracy to distribute controlled substances for her role in filling out fraudulent prescriptions for oxycodone in her name and in the names of others at a local Chester County pharmacy.
Brown’s plan was to obtain the drugs in order to distribute them herself for profit.
To pull off her scheme, she forged the prescriptions from prescription pads and paper that she stole from her employers. “Brown provided approximately 30 oxycodone pills from each fraudulent prescription not written in her name to her co-conspirators,” reports Maye. Brown’s co-conspirators in the scheme were responsible for over 30 million illegally prescribed opioids given to nearly 30,000 patients in the Chester County region, he adds.
Michael T. Harpster is a Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Philadelphia Division. “Whether it’s the unlawful diversion of Medicare funds or prescription drugs, the FBI will continue to crack down on all manner of health care fraud,” he is quoted as saying in Maye’s report “Medical professionals who choose to engage in these crimes should know that the next knock at your door could very well be Special Agents with a search warrant.”
Are you an attorney who is currently trying a health care fraud case?
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