Attorney General Jeff Sessions has vowed a federal crackdown on drug-dealing doctors and pharmacies exploiting the opioid crisis for cold, hard cash, reports the New York Daily News.
Speaking in opioid-ravaged Ohio, Sessions unveiled a new analytics program to track drug prescriptions and sales, with a dozen prosecutors poised to lower the legal boom on offenders.
“If you are a doctor illegally prescribing opioids for profit or a pharmacist letting these pills walk out the door … we are coming after you,” Sessions declared. “We will reverse these devastating trends with every tool we have.”
Sessions made the announcement in one of the states suffering most from the opioid explosion. Ohio will also be home to one of the 12 new federal drug prosecutors. One Ohio resident dies from an overdose about every three hours. Sessions called the situation was “the worst drug crisis in our history,” estimating that prescription opioid addiction was costing the national economy about $78 billion a year.
“What is even more devastating is the price we have paid in broken relationships, broken lives and death rates,” he said. More than 52,000 Americans died in 2015 from drug overdoses.
Sessions said estimates indicate the figure for last year was expected to approach 60,000, the highest number in history. The new Opioid Fraud and Abuse Detection Unit will also operate in hard-hit areas of Alabama, California, Florida, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and West Virginia.