Drug Distributor Faces Federal Criminal Charges for Role in Opioid Epidemic

The federal government has brought the first criminal charges against a drug distributor for its role in the opioid epidemic, Reuters reports.

Rochester Drug Co-operative (RDC) is charged with conspiring to distribute drugs and defrauding the federal government. The company agreed to pay a $20 million fine and enter a five-year deferred prosecution agreement. After a two-year investigation, investigators found the company distributed oxycodone, fentanyl and other controlled substances to pharmacy customers despite internal “red flags” that they would be used improperly.

U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman said these red flags included large increases in order sizes, pharmacy customers paying in cash, and prescriptions that were filled by doctors under investigation by law enforcement or who were on an RDC watch list.

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.

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