On Wednesday, the Department of Justice launched the Opioid Fraud and Abuse Detection Unit as a three-year pilot program, largely aimed at shutting down pill mills and drug diversion. The program funds 12 assistant U.S. attorneys in hard-hit states to leverage data that leads to identification and arrests of suppliers.
Speaking at an Ohio police academy, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said the unit will use data analytics to identify individual practitioners’ prescribing patterns, such as number of opioid prescriptions written, the age of the patients obtaining the prescriptions and related deaths. Pharmacy data will also be examined to identify locations with large volumes of dispensed opioids.
Sessions briefly cited the importance of treatment but also said treatment is a long process that “very often fails.” Industry observers have been skeptical from day one that he might rely on heavy-handed law enforcement approaches rather that treatment approaches to combat the opioid crisis.
In Ohio, Sessions also called for local law enforcement to press drug offenders who are arrested for possession to reveal their sources.
The following districts will participate in the program:
- Middle District of Florida
- Eastern District of Michigan
- Northern District of Alabama
- Eastern District of Tennessee
- District of Nevada
- Eastern District of Kentucky
- District of Maryland
- Western District of Pennsylvania
- Southern District of Ohio
- Eastern District of California
- Middle District of North Carolina
- Southern District of West Virginia