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Justice Dept. announces crackdown on opioid abuse by doctors

By Eric DuVall
Justice Dept. announces crackdown on opioid abuse by doctors
Attorney General Jeff Sessions said the Department of Justice arrested 120 healthcare professionals in the largest-ever roundup of care providers suspected of opioid abuses. Photo by Olivier Douliery/UPI | License Photo

July 13 (UPI) -- Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced federal authorities have arrested 120 healthcare providers for opioid abuse as part of a larger healthcare fraud crackdown on Thursday.

He said it was the single largest roundup of opioid-related crimes by healthcare providers in the nation's history.

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Among those charged were 56 physicians. The abuses included a clinic in Houston selling opioid prescriptions for cash, another medical group in Michigan that intentionally wrote unnecessary opioid prescriptions that wound up being resold on the street and a fake rehab facility in Palm Beach, Fla., that recruited addicts with gift cards, trips to strip clubs and other drug-enabling behavior.

"Too many trusted medical professionals like doctors, nurses and pharmacists have chosen to violate their oaths and put greed ahead of their patients," Sessions said. "Amazingly, some have made their practices into multimillion dollar criminal enterprises. They seem oblivious to the disastrous consequences of their greed. Their actions not only enrich themselves often at the expense of taxpayers but also feed addictions and cause addictions to start. The consequences are real: emergency rooms, jail cells, futures lost and graveyards."

In several instances, the healthcare providers also were billing the federal government under Medicare or Medicaid to reimburse them for the illegal practices.

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