The Creation of an Opioid Strike Force Signals Yet Another Increase in Enforcement Actions Related to Controlled Substances

On June 29, 2022, the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) announced the formation of the New England Prescription Opioid (NEPO) Strike Force. This strike force will investigate and vigorously prosecute healthcare providers involved in healthcare fraud schemes in the New England region, particularly prescribing physicians and dispensing pharmacists involved in the illegal prescribing and distribution of controlled substances. The NEPO Strike Force will be comprised of U.S. Attorneys from a number of districts as well as agents from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General (HHS-OIG), U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and the FBI.

Amid the ongoing opioid epidemic, the risks and potential liabilities related to improperly issuing and/or filling prescriptions for controlled substances are ever-increasing. It is clear that enforcement actions aimed at charging violations of the Controlled Substances Act are on the rise, as previously discussed here and here. The creation of this strike force further demonstrates the DOJ’s continued commitment to combatting the opioid crisis including investigating and prosecuting crimes related to improper prescribing and/or dispensing of controlled substances. Because this enforcement is ongoing and continuously expanding, it is vital that healthcare providers remain especially vigilant in their prescribing and dispensing practices.

How Frier Levitt Can Help

Healthcare providers, especially those who prescribe or dispense controlled substances, must be aware of the relevant state and federal laws, regulations, protocols and guidance on the proper prescribing practices as they relate to controlled substances.

Frier Levitt’s healthcare defense attorneys have extensive experience in advising clients on compliant prescribing and dispensing practices, as well as a proven track record of successfully defending healthcare entities and providers against allegations of wrongdoing in this arena.

If you have questions regarding prescribing and/or dispensing of controlled substances, or if you believe you are at risk of investigation for actions related to controlled substances, it is important that you speak with a lawyer immediately. Contact us for a consultation with our experienced criminal healthcare attorneys.