Federal prosecutors say they are cracking down on doctors, who are irresponsibly prescribing painkillers and opioids to patients.
They are using a new strategy that gives them better access to a wider range of prescription drug databases, Medicaid and Medicare numbers, records of coroners, other relevant statistics implemented by the Justice Department’s Opioid Fraud and Abuse Detection Unit. According to reports, the strategy will help to stop over-prescribing doctors in their tracks.
The unit is providing volumes of information to the Opioid Fraud and Abuse Detection Unit, and forces of authorities in 12 regions across the United States. The information unveils which doctors are prescribing opioids the most, how far patients will travel to see them, and patients have died within 60 days of receiving a doctor’s prescription.
Opioids are powerful pain-reducing medications and have benefits as well as potentially serious risks as they are very addictive.
However, some are showing concern about the effect of this prosecutorial strategy, claiming that it can discourage doctors from prescribing opioid painkillers to patients who really need them out of fear of prosecution. But this strategy’s supporters say that problem of the opioid epidemic is growing so rapidly that we can’t ignore it.
Rod Rosenstein, deputy attorney general, said that those who break the law, the Justice Department will consider stopping those including pharmaceutical companies.
“Western Pennsylvania is experiencing some of the highest rates of overdose deaths in the nation,” added Acting U.S. Attorney Song. “In response, we in law enforcement aggressively target drug traffickers – both those who distribute on the street and those who traffic under the guise of physicians writing excessive prescriptions.”
While authorities believe that doctors can and will prescribe large amounts of opioids in some cases, at another side, they are focusing on gynecologists, dentists, psychiatrists and other specialists who are prescribing drugs at unwarranted high rates.