DEA Focuses on Drug Distributors in Fight Against Painkiller Abuse

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is focusing on drug distributors in an effort to fight prescription painkiller abuse, The New York Times reports. In the past, the agency has tried tactics including arresting doctors and closing pharmacies.

Drug distributors are now trying to limit their liability by monitoring their distribution pipeline more closely, and refusing to supply some pharmacy customers.

Earlier this year, the DEA charged drug distributor Cardinal Health and four pharmacies with violating their licenses to sell controlled drugs. The DEA said Cardinal had an unusually high number of shipments of controlled painkillers to four pharmacies. The agency suspended Cardinal’s controlled substance license at its distribution center in Lakeland, Florida. The center serves 2,500 pharmacies in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina.

Cardinal no longer does business with a dozen pharmacies in at least four states, the article notes. Some of the drugstores unsuccessfully sued the company to resume shipments. Cardinal’s Chairman and Chief Executive, George S. Barrett, said the company has strengthened the criteria it uses in deciding whether to sell painkillers to a pharmacy. “We had a strong antidiversion system in place, but no system is perfect,” he told the newspaper. Cardinal has created a committee that evaluates pharmacies that order large amounts of narcotic drugs.

In August, Amerisource Bergen, the third-largest drug distributor in the United States, received subpoenas from the DEA and federal prosecutors seeking information on how the company monitors for possible diversions of opioids and other drugs with high potential for abuse.

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    November 29, 2015 at 7:32 PM

    My grandma who is 83 years old gets turned down for pain medication at the pharmacy.

    My brother in law who is an active duty guardsman (staff sergeant) in the U.S. Army and a combat veteran who is DRUG TESTED repeatedly as a part of his job was given aspirin at the local ER and refused opiates when he had a bone infection in his inner ear / jaw. He was crying from the pain and the guy DOES NOT CRY – EVER.

    I am on a watch list because I’ve been prescribed “too many” anxiety pills which I have been taking for years via prescription, which I only take as needed and even though I’m allowed up to 3 a day according to the RX, I only take one when things are bad and I’m having a panic attack because god forbid I run out when I really need it, like having to fly for work travel. I have a full time job in electronics as one of the posters above and I’m considered a stellar employee.

    MEANWHILE a junky gets turned down for pain meds at the pharmacy or ER and they go to their DEALER and can get heroin ALL DAY LONG….

    So lets punish my 80 year old grandma who doesn’t have much time left on this earth by making her suffer in pain while the junkies and addicts GO UNTREATED in the FOR PROFIT penal system and can resort to drug dealers for whatever death in a baggie they will find. While the rest of us LAW ABIDING CITIZENS will suffer in pain.


    The DEA and DOJ need to be cleared out, defunded and kicked to the side for helping fill FOR PROFIT PRISONS and doing squat to fix any REAL problems. The leadership in these organization have ZERO business running a 7/11 let alone meddling in our medical lives.

    Write your politicians and tell them how you feel and how you’ll vote if things don’t change.

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    February 16, 2014 at 4:45 AM

    I have fibromyalgia, have had sinus and hemorrhoid surgery. I have arthritis in my neck, back, and knees. I was in a rear-end car accident and I have severe pain in my neck on and off such that I cannot turn my head at all. I was also exposed to toxic mold at my workplace (resulting in sinus surgery) and I have gone downhill since then. I suffer with IBS as well. I live in constant pain which also causes “brain fog”. I am an electronics engineer with an advanced degree and a good job. I want to keep working, be productive, and provide for my wife and my 3 year old son. I am tired of being under-treated for my pain because the DEA has caused my doctor to fear for losing his license. He has referred me to a pain clinic now where I am sure I will get an MRI. For some reason my doctor cannot order them (ordering too many tests under Medicare?). He sent many of his patients to pain clinics last month. I volunteered to be referred and he did. He fears giving me more than what he is giving me, which I hate to say, is very minimal for the suffering I go through. I go through waves of pain that comes and goes but never stops. I should not be punished by the DEA for the deeds of a few bad apples. I am not a drug dealer or a drug abuser, but I am under-treated for my pain and I can barely make it through each workday. By the time I’m home, I am unable to spend time with my son and my wife. I just don’t have the power to do it after working all day and driving 1.5 hours total getting to work and back. The DEA must be stopped and taken out of the business of interfering with legitimate patients and doctors. They have no business involving themselves between me and my doctor in legally obtained medications. It’s not a war on drugs, it’s a war on patients and fellow HUMAN BEINGS. Let all of them fall into a life of chronic pain and suffering and see how fast these “agents” change their minds. Or perhaps may they see a close relative or loved one suffer immensely and find it is because of their antics against legal medications. I would probably have eaten a bullet by now if I had not received pain treatment. But my quality of life is very poor because what I receive is very minimal. I don’t get 250 pills a month of high-dose oxycodone. I get two measly Lortab 7.5mg each day for breakthrough and a 25ug Fentanyl patch which helps but is certainly not powerful by any means. It is supposed to work for 3 full days but really works for 1.5 days. I wake up with severe back pain at 3 or 4 am many days of the month and have to get out of bed or the pain gets worse. Not treating a person for their pain until it is relieved is inhumane. Would you tell a stage 4 cancer patient they cannot have pain medication because, God forbid, he/she may become addicted? That’s ridiculous. I will live with cancer-level pain for the rest of my life and I should not be denied because I could get addicted (who cares? Really!) or because some jerk gets medication when he doesn’t need it and then sells it. That is not my problem. That is a problem for the police and the dealer. It is sophomoric of the DEA to punish all victims of pain for the crimes of a few as if they were the mean school teacher who punishes the whole class for the misbehavior of a single student. DEA and drug organizations: STOP PUNISHING ME FOR BEING SICK AND IN PAIN!!! Those who deny people of proper treatment causing the to suffer, and doing so knowingly will suffer the wrath of God when they pass on. It must be wonderful, Mr. Agent, to wake up and hit the floor running, overflowing with energy, and pain free, while you go after me, my doctor, and my pharmacist. Wake up and stop punishing me, my wife, and most of all, my beautiful little 3 year old son! You have no right and how dare you presume to know what is best for me or play doctor. You are not doctors. You have no medical training and therefore you should be arrested for interfering with medical treatment of legitimate patients. I hope one day you do sit in a cold and miserable prison because that’s what I feel like – like a prisoner in the world wishing for death if this is what my life will be for another 40 years. Get off your high horses now and leave us alone.

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    January 26, 2014 at 12:11 AM

    I suffer from chronic pain and have a wonderful pain management doctor. My problem is because of the DEA and their rediculous wisdom have made it very hard to have my prescriptions filled. I suffer from a rare cancer that does not respond to chemo or radiation treatments, failed back surgery, knee surgery, foot surgery etc.. I take my prescriptions as i am required but always having to change pharmacies because the manufacture refuses to send the pain medications needed for the legal pain sufferers we suffer because the DEA makes us look like junkies, I bet employees of the DEA get their pain meds required with no problems. Thanks a lot from a hard working American DEA are targeting the wrong people shut di an all the liquor stores, cigarette manufactures, and marijuana stores and see how these people who are addicted to these items like it.

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