22-May-15 4:00 AM  CST

DEA Initiates Successful Raids for Illegal Prescriptions Drugs

Illegal use of prescription drugs has long been an issue that has plagued the medical community. Painkillers like hydrocodone, oxycodone, and fentanyl are the drugs of choice for those dealing in illegal prescription drug activities. Law enforcement, including the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has had a difficult time keeping up with the criminal activity. This week the DEA made raids in the Southern part of the U.S.  that prove the criminal element involved in the illegal distribution of prescription drug is not just on the street.

On Wednesday the DEA raided several pain clinics, medical practices, and pharmacies in Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi where agents suspected fraud and illegal prescription drug use had been occurring. The 15-month long investigation netted two physicians in Mobile, Alabama who had been illegally prescribing prescription painkillers to patients through their two pain clinics and pharmacy.

In Little Rock, Arkansas agents found that hundreds of prescriptions for painkillers had been written each day in a pain clinic where patients had received no examination. Additionally, an Arkansas Pharmacist, no name was given, was arrested for filling fake prescriptions for hydrocodone. 93,000 tablets in all where dispensed totaling more than $500,000 in 2013.

DEA agent Keith Brown, head of the New Orleans division stated that the raids ended up with several dozen physicians surrendering their DEA registrations. Over the last 15 months agents had posed as patients with supposed issues relating to pain. Many of the physicians where the suspected illegal activity was taking place never examined or performed any diagnostic test to confirm the patient’s pain. Instead, physicians simply wrote the prescription for the pain medication and the agents paid the fee for the prescription. Agent Brown further stated that in some cases the video taped encounters show the physicians coursing patients into stating that their pain was worse than they had originally stated.

The illegal use and sale of prescription painkillers has become an increasing event in the U.S. that has law enforcement and those within the healthcare industry concerned over the detriment that comes in its wake. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 44,000 people died in the U.S. in 2013 from accidental drug overdose, of those deaths more than half were related to prescription drugs. Approximately 16,000 of the 44,000 accidental overdose deaths were due to prescription painkillers, startling numbers that confirm there is indeed a crisis that needs to be resolved or at the very least, controlled.


Schwarz, A., (2015), “Doctors Among Dozens Held in Raids Against Illegal Sale of Prescription Drugs”, New York Times, http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/21/us/doctors-among-dozens-held-in-raids-against-illegal-sales-of-prescription-drugs.html?ref=health&_r=0, retrieved, 22, 

For additional information on this article, please contact:
Sandra Andrews
(717) 360-1159
Source: Sandy Andrews  

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