The Michigan State Police has created a new unit to investigate and prosecute medical professionals who illegally prescribe opioids in the state. The new Diversion Investigation Unit was formed this summer after Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer issued an executive order in August that created the Michigan Opioids Task Force.
Col. Joe Gasper, the director of the Michigan State Police, said in a press release that the Diversion Investigation Unit will investigate health care professionals who are helping to fuel the state’s continuing opioid crisis.
“We evolve as crime does,” said Gasper. “This is a very real and potentially deadly part of the opioid epidemic. Prescribing medically unnecessary controlled substances pushes highly addictive drugs on to our streets impacting public and patient safety.”
The new unit has already investigated and charged two health care professionals suspected of illegally supplying opioids and other crimes, with more cases pending statewide. Ramona Brown, a nurse practitioner from Lansing, has been charged with one count of conducting a criminal enterprise, one count of conspiracy to manufacture illegal prescriptions, nine counts of manufacturing illegal prescriptions, and one count of health care fraud.
Dr. Arduth M. Burgess, D.O., of Mason has been charged with one count of