Five doctors in New York have been indicted by federal authorities for writing more than 8.5 million allegedly unnecessary oxycodone prescriptions, NBC News reports.
The prescriptions resulted in the deaths of several people, as well as multiple overdoses, federal prosecutors said. “These doctors and other health professionals should have been the first line of defense against opioid abuse, but as alleged in today’s charges, instead of caring for their patients, they were drug dealers in white coats,” Geoffrey Berman, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, said in a news release. “They hid behind their medical licenses to sell addictive, dangerous narcotics.”
One of the doctors operated out of a pain clinic that prescribed 6.2 million oxycodone pills in the past six years, according to prosecutors. The prescriptions generated $5.7 million in patient fees over the past three years.
Heroin & the Opioid Epidemic: From Understanding to Action
Heroin and other opioids are ravaging communities across America. Heroin-related deaths increased by more than five times between 2010 and 2017, and drug deaths from fentanyl and other synthetic opioids are seeing a sharp rise as well.