The Drug Enforcement Administration is cracking down on prescription drug abuse in the south. They have been targeting pain clinics and pharmacies in Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Arkansas. The DEA is calling the raids “Operation Pilluted.” The operation begun last summer and wrapped up today with early morning raids. The operation was a major success. Over the past year, 280 people have been arrested. Among those arrested were 22 doctors and pharmacists.
“Drug dealing doctors will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” said George Beck. “As the governor has explained, the ability to write prescriptions for schedule to drugs does not give medical providers, doctors and those who report to doctors the right to peddle drugs.”
In 2013, 43,982 unintentional drug overdose deaths occurred in the United States. That breaks down to one death every thirteen minutes with nearly 52 percent of those deaths attributed to prescription drugs. Of the 52 percent of deaths, 71 percent were attributed to opioid overdoses. “Operation Pilluted” focused directly on the illegal side of painkillers. Two of the most popular painkillers obtained illegally are oxycodone and hydrocodone.
Twenty one search warrants were executed across Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi and 51 vehicles were impounded, 202 weapons and $404,828 in cash were seized during the operation.
“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,” said DEA Special Agent in-charge Keith Brown. “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.”
Expect to see more and more operations coming into play by the DEA. There is a lot of pressure on this agency to make an impact on the leading cause of accidental death in the country. As long as the demand is high, there will be people trying to make money from the illegal sale of these medications and in many instances, a few bad doctors affect an enormous amount of patients.