Author: John Carter

Selling Prescription Medications, Opioids Illegally

how to report someone selling their prescription drugs

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  1. Since insurers have access to data from millions of claims, they are often the first to spot suspicious behavior from doctors or pharmacies and can inform law enforcement.
  2. A knowledgeable lawyer should be able to assess your case for possible defenses and weaknesses, and advise you whether to go to trial or try to get a plea deal.
  3. On April 29, thousands of police stations and law enforcement offices across the country will open their doors to people looking to dispose of prescription medications.
  4. Many people get hooked on opioids after receiving a legitimate prescription following an injury or surgery.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 15,000 people die each year from prescription medicine overdoses. And overdoses lead to an additional 1.2 million emergency room visits each year. Prescription medication abuse is one of the greatest public health crises facing our nation today, tearing apart families, devastating communities and driving up medical costs. “People, especially in rural communities, they don’t see anything wrong with selling or sharing prescription medications,” Walsh said. “It’s a culturally accepted thing” to supply medication to a person who is in pain. Austin Serb, a convicted drug dealer in Boise, Idaho, said he knew many older people who sold their prescriptions.

How to Report Illegal Drug Activity

Many people get hooked on opioids after receiving a legitimate prescription following an injury or surgery. They try to obtain more prescriptions for the medicines, and may turn to buying heroin on the street if they are unable to get access to prescription opioids. On April 29, thousands of police stations and law enforcement offices across the country will open their doors to people looking to dispose of prescription medications.

The penalties for the illegal sale of prescription drugs vary, depending on where the case was prosecuted. (Federal charges carry the same penalties no matter where in the country the prosecution occurs, but each state has its own sentencing provisions). When someone sells them illegally, they usually commit a felony, and the consequences can be harsh. Opioids are highly addictive medicines that include prescription painkillers and illicit substances such as heroin.

Kent Chitwood, the assistant district attorney who prosecuted the case, said about 1 in 10 of the prescription drug cases he prosecutes involve an older adult. What helps fuel this troubling trend is not just the poverty faced by some older people. But for drug dealers like Dedeaux, older Americans will continue to provide an irresistable opportunity to secure the profitable pills. This website is using a security service to protect itself from online attacks.

What Is an “Illegal Sale” of Prescription Drugs?

What’s more, you can rest easy knowing that all Crime Stoppers workers are trained to protect the caller’s identity and, instead of caller ID, all incoming phone calls are assigned a numerical code. For instance, a person who has a valid prescription can be convicted of illegally selling drugs if he sells or gives his drugs to someone else. Insurers can help cut back by identifying patients and prescribers who engage in questionable practices.

But treatment workers and researchers who study addiction say the prescription drugs of older Americans often end up on the open market. Indeed, federal and state laws make it a crime to sell or give away prescribed controlled substances without a license. Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans also work closely with law enforcement to monitor doctors who prescribe high levels of narcotics and other controlled substances. In 2012, doctors prescribed 259 million bottles of opioids, one for every adult in the country. Meanwhile, the number of heroin users skyrocketed over the past 15 years. The majority of new heroin users say they were addicted to prescription opioids first.

Crime Stoppers is an effective national program that collects anonymous crime tips. Anyone who wants to report drug activity can contact Crime Stoppers via phone or online. A national tip line is available 24/7, and the program also operates out of local offices. Witnesses to drug crimes can make an anonymous phone call or fill out an online form.

how to report someone selling their prescription drugs

Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans then assign a case manager to work directly with these patients to help distinguish individuals who are responsibly managing their pain from those who are abusing medications and may need help. Capt. Steve Arthur of the Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office in Alabama said he sees few cases in which older people set out to sell drugs. More often, drug dealers recruit them, either with threats or promises of money, to get prescriptions that they later sell at a steep markup. And in some cases, fraudulent or careless prescribing has left older patients with more opioid pills than they need.

What is prescription medication fraud?

“Older people,” Dedeaux said in an email sent from a federal prison in Arizona, where he is serving a 12-year sentence on drug charges. “They want to make some extra money and don’t mind selling the pills.” With defendants who are health care professionals or pharmacists, a prosecutor would have to prove that the defendant intentionally wrote or filled bogus prescriptions. The flow of opioids from older Americans to the street isn’t always at a profit. Pills often are stolen by home health workers,taken from medicine cabinets by family members and visitors, and sometimes just given away. Prosecutions are challenging because juries are surprised to see an older person on trial, and judges are reluctant to give jail time, law enforcement officials say.

Plan officials conducted a full audit of the doctor’s records and found numerous irregularities, such as prescribing several powerful medicines to the same patient – a potentially deadly combination. The doctor assigned vague diagnoses to patients and did not refer them for other pain management treatments. The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plan filed a complaint with regulatory agencies and the doctor is being investigated by the DEA.

The pills they prescribed often made their way directly into the street drug trade. There was also a corresponding increase in unlicensed, illegal internet sales of prescription drugs, now that the number of addicts had risen so dramatically. Interviews with law enforcement members across the country, along with a review of court cases, confirm that retirement-age Americans have become a new source of illicit prescription painkillers sold on the open market. Others are victims of drug dealers, who target them for their prescriptions. And in some cases, caregivers and family members are pilfering their medications for profit or to feed their own addictions. When charged with illegally selling prescription drugs, defendants can sometimes argue that they had no intent to sell the drugs, but instead possessed them for personal use.

Selling Prescription Drugs

The problem is far from eradicated, and opioid addiction remains a huge problem. The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association is an association of independent, locally operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield Companies. AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that empowers people to choose how they live as they age.

Walsh said older Americans who sell their prescriptions do not operate like traditional drug dealers. Instead, they sell, and sometimes share, their medications through a network of friends and family members, often without a good understanding of the dangers or potential legal consequences. People, especially in rural communities, they don’t see anything wrong with selling or sharing prescription medications. Alternate options include contacting the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) or the Department of Justice (DOJ). Both have websites and phone numbers to anonymously report drug activity or submit tips through a hotline.