In this country, 40 people die every day from prescription painkiller overdoses. Despite that, health care providers continue to advocate opioids at the rate of approximately 245 million prescriptions a year. Numbers like these may mean big business for those involved in prescription drug crime. In Florida, one high-profile case shows how law enforcement is changing its tactics when dealing with illegal prescription drug operations.
Twin brothers ran what some believe was the largest prescription painkiller business in the country. Their operation included a network of doctors who, according to investigators, indiscriminately issued thousands of prescriptions to known addicts. Their clinics across the state brought in $40 million in just two years of operation, but the scheme unraveled when patients started dying from alleged overdoses. The subsequent investigation led to the arrests of the brothers and their felony convictions concerning counts that included the second degree murder of a patient who overdosed.
FBI investigators want this case to send a message to anyone attempting to cash in on the painkiller abuse epidemic. Law enforcement agencies are no longer simply targeting addicts; they are treating the issue as a criminal conspiracy. Almost all states use a prescription drug monitoring program that helps law enforcement track painkiller prescriptions and determine where over-prescription may be taking place. Doctors and clinic owners may now be in the crosshairs.
Being convicted of any prescription drug crime in Florida may seriously jeopardize one’s future. If one is a doctor, he or she may lose the privilege of practicing medicine in addition to receiving jail time if found guilty. Those facing such charges would benefit from obtaining legal counsel as soon as possible so that a strategy for defense can be constructed. An experienced lawyer will know how to weigh the best options for a plea agreement or criminal trial.
Source: cnbc.com, “Prescription for disaster: Why an FBI agent says drug busts alone won’t solve the opioid problem”, Scott Cohn, July 7, 2016