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5 Takeaways from the Largest Federal Opioid Bust in History

  1. The federal strike force used analytics from state prescription monitoring programs and Medicaid billing to identify potential offenders.The task force began in January 2019 and was composed of 300 agents. After identifying potential offenders, law enforcement followed up with undercover operations. The federal Appalachian Regional Prescription Opioid Strike force was created to specifically combat the opioid epidemic in rural communities.

  1. 53 medical professionals from Alabama, Kentucky, Louisiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and West Virginia were charged on April 17th for unlawfully prescribing opioids. A physician in Dayton, Ohio, collected $5,000 a month in rent from a pharmacy located in his office. The pharmacy provided pills after he signed prescriptions. Another doctor in Alabama would charge patients a “concierge fee” between $50 and $600 per visit.

  1. Medical professionals across 7 states gave out 350,000 illegal prescriptions. An estimated 32 million prescription pain pills were illegally distributed by 31 physicians, eight nurse practitioners, seven pharmacists and seven other medical workers. The strike force accuse several doctors of signing blank prescriptions and leaving them for their office staff. A doctor in Kentucky is accused of signing off on prescriptions from Facebook.

  1. A Tennessee nurse practitioner known as “the rock doc” allegedly prescribed opioids and benzodiazepines for sexual favors. He even piloted a reality television show called “Roc Doc TV.” The show revolved around him and his clinic. It never aired on television. According to the indictment, over a three-year period “the rock doc” prescribed 500,000 hydrocodone pills, 300,000 oxycodone pills, 1,500 fentanyl patches, and more than 600,000 benzodiazepine pills.”

  1. Most medical professionals who are being charged practiced in small rural towns. Three pharmacies in Cookeville, Tennessee distributed more than 1 and half million opioids. A doctor in Tennessee allegedly prescribed approximately 4.2 million pain pills. One Ohio pharmacy located in a doctor’s office illegally distributed 1.75 million opioid pills.

Saturday, April 27th is National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day!

Take Back Day is designed to collect unwanted medications that are sitting in your medicine cabinet. Don't let them fall into the wrong hands, click here to Find a disposal location near you.