If you think that the “war on drugs” is over – or even paused – think again. The reactionary approach to the opioid crisis has put many medical providers, doctors and pharmacists in the crosshairs of in-depth investigations by local and federal authorities.
Recently, a doctor, three pharmacists and a pharmacy technician were arrested for their role in what was allegedly a Houston-area “pill mill” that supplied opioids and other controlled substances without valid cause.
What’s going on with the Department of Justice’s case?
The three pharmacists and pharmacy tech are accused of acting in conjunction with a local physician to illegally distribute nearly four million oxycodone and hydrocodone pills. One member of the operation would steer people who were paid to pose as patients to the doctor, and the doctor would knowingly prescribe them medication they didn’t need. The pharmacists would then fill the prescriptions, knowing that the pills were headed for street sales. If convicted, all of the people charged face between 10 and 20 years in prison.
It’s important to understand that even though significant attention is being given right now to the growing problem of counterfeit prescription drugs laced with fentanyl, the authorities haven’t stopped looking for potential pill mills. While there are, without a doubt, bad actors out there who are fueling the opioid crisis, it’s also not unusual for well-intentioned doctors and pharmacists to get caught up in investigations.
If you suspect that you may be under investigation for operating a pill mill or helping distribute opioids illegally, don’t wait until the police are at your doorstep to seek legal guidance. A proactive defense is often the best.