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Some medical professionals operate 'no different than drug dealers' says Ohio U.S. attorney

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Ann Thompson
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WVXU
U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio Ken Parker stands at the podium, with members of federal agencies involved looking on, as he announces the latest round-up of medical professionals who allegedly unlawfully distributed opioids.

The U.S. Justice Department is making good on a promise from its Appalachian Regional Prescription Opioid (ARPO) strike force to continually seek out and prosecute people illegally distributing opioids.

“We said this would not be a one-and-done spectacle,” says U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio Ken Parker, referring to the establishment of ARPO in 2019 and its big announcement then of the illegal distribution of 23 million pills.

Over the past three years, ARPO has charged more than 100 people who allegedly issued prescriptions for more than 115 million controlled substance pills.

At a Wednesday news conference in Cincinnati, Parker announced more than a dozen doctors, dentists, pharmacists, nurses and other medical professionals in seven states are charged in a Justice Department roundup for the alleged unlawful distribution of opioids.

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Justice Department
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One of the cases is a Kentucky dentist, according to Assistant Attorney General Ken Polite. “In August of 2020, a patient allegedly died from the morphine prescriptions this dentist issued,” he says.

Another case involved a former nurse and clinic director in Tennessee who's accused of using the names of current and former hospice patients to distribute pain pills. Parker said these medical professionals are acting no different than drug dealers. “These medical professionals, let me be clear, are operating no different than any drug dealers, they are simply donning white coats while they are prescribing dangerous levels of opioids.”

You can find descriptions of each case on the justice.gov website.

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Justice Department