An investigation by the Daily Caller News Foundation (DCNF) that could have a direct impact on the escalating opioid crisis in the U.S. has found that the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) knowingly allowed many businesses and agencies, including dealers and doctors with history of addiction, to manufacture, distribute and prescribe drugs over the past 12 years.
According to the investigation, as of March 2018, more than 1.7 million individuals and organizations held DEA permits. While the federal agency ruled on 430 probes into licensed individuals and groups since March 2006, it only revoked 240 licenses and denied applications for 106 others. “The DEA does not aggressively try to find corrupt or incompetent health care providers in the health care system,” said Carnegie Mellon University Professor Jonathan Caulkins, who has a vast experience in drug policy.
According to the DCNF review, the DEA knowingly issued licenses to those admitted to suffering from drug addiction or dealing with drugs in the past. For instance, a dentist who was licensed by the DEA in September 2013 to prescribe certain drugs had previously been caught with meth abuse multiple times and had a history of abusing alcohol, cocaine and marijuana. The dentist had also admitted to serving a two-year prison sentence for helping a motorcycle gang produce meth in the early 2000s.
According to Public Citizen’s Health Research Group Founder Sidney Wolfe, even if one doctor is involved in prescribing medications in an abusive manner, it could harm hundreds of patients. He said that the number of doctors with opioid problems was probably higher than the number of license revocations. Calling it a poor law enforcement, Wolfe said that no system is in place that can collect all the necessary evidence and act appropriately. If there was any such thing, the number of revocations would have been in thousands instead of hundreds, he said.
The DEA’s Office of Diversion Control has been facing criticism for its licensing and revocation policies. According to a report by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of the Inspector General Evaluation and Inspections Division, from 2008 to 2012, the DEA not only lacked timelines to deal with its adjudication of registrant actions, but also consistently failed to meet standards in passing a formal judgment regarding immediate suspension orders.
Prescription drugs, which are easily accessible, are abused for their ability to alter the user’s physical and mental state. When abused or taken in ways other than prescribed, prescription drugs can result in physical and mental disorders, including cardiovascular diseases, seizures, depression and feelings of paranoia, calling the need for urgent drug addiction therapy under professional care. One of the main driving forces behind the nation’s opioid epidemic, prescription drug abuse constituted more than 40 percent of all opioid-related overdose deaths throughout the nation. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 46 Americans die from overdoses related to prescription opioids every day. Besides, over 200,000 people in the U.S. succumbed to drug overdoses involving prescription opioids between 1999 and 2016.
If you know someone battling an addiction to drugs, including prescription medicines, it’s time to encourage him/her to seek professional help. At the 24/7 Recovery Helpline, we have licensed health professionals who can help you or your loved ones via phone or drug addiction online chat learn more about addiction, identify its symptoms and explore the best treatment options basis your needs. Call us at our 24/7 helpline number (855) 441-4405 or chat online on our drug help live chat to locate the nearest rehab center.