The Drug Enforcement Administration and federal prosecutors Wednesday announced a multi-agency enforcement action across four states that targeted unlawful doctors and pharmacists as well as pill mills in the agency’s largest prescription drug operation.
In a news conference, DEA Special Agent in-Charge Keith Brown told reporters that the states of Arkansas, Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi were targeted in an effort to reverse the harmful effects produced by the trafficking and abuse of pharmaceuticals. As part of this effort, dubbed ‘Operation Pilluted,’ 22 doctors and pharmacists were arrested in the 15-month operation which involved nearly 1,000 law enforcement officers. 280 arrests took place as part of the operation.
‘Operation Pilluted’ was led by the DEA New Orleans Field Division and utilized intelligence data, information provided by state and local law enforcement, and complaints made by citizens, to identify DEA Registrants and others involved in prescribing, obtaining, and distributing dangerous and addictive drugs such as Oxycodone, Hydrocodone, and Xanax.
According to the DEA, approximately 43,982 unintentional drug overdose deaths occurred in the United States in 2013. Nearly 52 percent of those deaths were attributed to prescription drugs. Of these, 71 percent were attributed to opioid overdoses.
Brown said in a news release, “DEA is committed to reducing the destruction brought on by the trafficking and abuse of prescription drugs through aggressive criminal enforcement, robust administrative oversight, and strong relationships with other law enforcement agencies, the public, and the medical community. The doctors and pharmacists arrested in ‘Operation Pilluted’ are nothing more than drug traffickers who prey on the addiction of others while abandoning the Hippocratic Oath adhered to faithfully by thousands of doctors and pharmacists each day across this country.”