In response to the nation’s high rates of opioid abuse and opioid related deaths, the federal Justice Department launched a massive initiative last year. The primary focus of the action is aimed at cracking down specifically on doctors who illegally prescribe opioids.
Since its launch in 2018, the Justice Department initiative has lead to a little under 100 charges. Currently, most of these are still in the early stages of the prosecution process.
And while those cases remain pending, authorities continue the crack down. Now, federal officials just announced new charges against 13 people in the Appalachia region—11 of whom are doctors.
Targeting Medical Professionals
As reported by the AP and CNN Wire, the spate of opioid related arrests is largely the result of a shift in focus by law enforcement. Specifically, a new strategy that focuses on doctors and other medical professionals.
According to reports, law enforcement began compiling and analyzing detailed stats on opioid prescriptions. Eventually, analysts started focusing in on a few key metrics that were often linked to criminal opioid activity.
Specifically, authorities started paying close attention to:
rate of patient deaths linked to specific doctors; how far people travel to get prescriptions written and filled;