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Two Instances Of Justice Found In America’s Ongoing Opioid Crisis




Americans have been struggling with opioid addiction for a very long time. The Allegiant Experts Blog has covered many a story about medical professionals who are worsening our nation’s horrific opioid crisis. By doling out drugs without a medical purpose and/or securing these highly-addictive meds for recreational use, many practitioners are increasing the number of overdose deaths in the country.

 

“Decades into the deadliest drug overdose epidemic in American history, people are dying at higher rates than ever,” reports Lydialyle Gibson on Vox.com, “Between 2017 and 2021, the number of overdose deaths involving opioids jumped from 47,600 to 80,411 — many more Americans than are killed each year by guns or cars. The surge has been largely driven by powerful synthetics like fentanyl, an opioid 50 times more potent than heroin.”

 

New Jersey doctor gets 2-year prison term for unlawful oxycodone distribution.

 

Oxycodone is a semi-synthetic opioid. It is used medically for treatment of moderate to severe pain. However, it is a highly addictive and commonly abused drug. Usually taken by mouth, oxycodone works in the brain to change how your body feels and responds to pain.

 

65 year-old, Felicia E. Gonzalez prescribed oxycodone to three of her patients without conducting any physical examinations. As reported by the Office of Public Affairs yesterday, the New Jersey-based doctor was sentenced to two years in prison and barred from practicing medicine for her actions.

 

“Gonzalez previously received national bans from two large pharmacy chains related to her prescribing practices but continued to prescribe addictive opioids without performing the minimum assessments required by state safety regulations,” the report details, “To conceal her unlawful prescribing, Gonzalez falsified her medical records by falsely claiming to have performed examinations when she had not.”

 

Maryland physician charged with 29 counts of illegal opioid distribution.

 

Gonzalez wasn’t the only medical practitioner brought to justice this month. Last Friday, the District of Columbia branch of the U.S. Attorney’s Office reported that 64 year-old, Ndubuisi Joseph Okafor was indicted. He was charged with 29 counts of illegally distributing prescriptions for narcotics in exchange for cash. Those prescriptions included oxycodone and promethazine with codeine. They were doled out to individuals outside the usual course of professional practice and without a legitimate medical purpose from his Washington, D.C. medical practice.

 

The report contends that Okafor would distribute controlled substance prescriptions to co-conspirators whom he knew to be abusing or diverting the medication. He is also alleged to have distributed dangerous and highly addictive controlled substances via medically unnecessary prescriptions to co-conspirators in at least 37 states nationwide.

 

“As part of the conspiracy, Okafor was paid in cash by his co-conspirators for each prescription issued,” reports the U.S. Attorney’s Office, “In addition to the charge of conspiracy, Okafor stands charged with maintaining a drug involved premises, and 26 counts of controlled substance distribution. These 26 counts include distributions to co-conspirators, an actual patient, and undercover law enforcement sources.” The defendant faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison on each count.

 

Are you an attorney who is currently working a healthcare fraud case?

 

The clinical experts at Allegiant Experts can help you! We coordinate and support courageous whistleblowers that shine lights on fraud, waste and abuse. Contact us today to schedule a complimentary consultation. Please don’t hesitate to give us a call at 407-217-5831. You may also email us at info@allegiantexperts.com.

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