The Trump administration is following through with its threat to hold more health care providers responsible for their part in the opioid addiction crisis.
On Wednesday, the Department of Justice announced it was charging 60 health care providers for prescribing painkillers to individuals they knew were already addicted.
Between the 60 health care providers, roughly 32 million pills were prescribed to known addicts.
FBI Executive Assistant Director Amy Hess said the government is no longer willing to sit by while this abuse was happening in the health care system.
Hess stated, “The FBI will pursue medical personnel who misuse their positions of trust to blatantly disregard others’ very lives for their own financial gain.”
The abuse in this case was simply astonishing. Doctors were doing everything from leaving signed, blank prescription pads to carrying out procedures to justify the prescriptions.
The Opioid Crisis
A large portion of those indicted come from the states among the hardest hit in the country by the opioid crisis. Reports stated that a total of 46 health care professionals came from a total of five states: Alabama, Kentucky, Ohio, Tennessee, and West Virginia.
In one case, a Tennessee doctor prescribed more than four million pills to addicts.
In Alabama, a doctor was handing out prescriptions to recruited prostitutes, making them patients for his clinic and allowing them to do drugs in his home.
While this problem was once hidden in the shadows, the sheer devastating number of deaths in this country have brought the problem to the forefront. Almost 50,000 people died of opioid overdoses in 2017.
In addition to the health care provider problems, there is also the issue of illegal drugs coming into the country via the southern border.
This is something President Donald Trump was hoping to reduce with a border wall and better immigration laws, but Democrats still refuse to sit down to address this problem in good faith with Republicans.