People in the United States consume the majority of prescription painkillers made worldwide, which has led to a prescription opioid epidemic. While efforts to curb the problem, such as prescription drug monitoring programs, have yielded some promising results, many addicts have turned to heroin, a cheaper and stronger alternative – creating a new problem. Nevertheless, the fight to end the prescription opioid crisis continues, and on Wednesday, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) announced the results of a four-state prescription drug crackdown, Reuters reports.
The DEAs “Operation Pilluted,” set its sights on the illegal distribution of prescription opioid narcotics. The operation yielded 280 arrests, including:
- 22 Doctors and Pharmacists
- $404,828 in Cash Seized
- 202 Weapons
- 51 Vehicles
“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 in a statement. “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.”
Over the course of 15 months, agents involved in Operation Pilluted, observed and arrested people on federal and state criminal charges, according to the article. The operation was headed up by the DEA’s New Orleans Field Division, which resulted in the arrests of individuals in Louisiana, Arkansas, Alabama and Mississippi.
The south, arguably, has been hit the hardest by the prescription drug epidemic. Federal and state officials have been working tirelessly over the last several years to implement prescription drug monitoring programs aimed at doctor shoppers, and to shut down pill mills which were flooding the streets with powerful narcotics. Prescription drug companies have been urged to create abuse-resistant pain medications, drugs that make it more difficult for abusers to tamper with the medications.
The DEA called Operation Pilluted its largest-ever prescription drug operation.
If you are struggling with prescription opioids do not hesitate to call for help.