May 5, 2022 – Over a dozen defendants across eight federal districts have been charged in connection with the illegal prescription and distribution of 5.1 million opioid pills, the Justice Department announced Wednesday. 

The various law enforcement actions were the result of the department’s Appalachian Regional Prescription Opioid (ARPO) Strike Force, a multiagency approach that targets the unlawful prescription of opioid drugs across the Appalachian region. According to Assistant Attorney General Kenneth Polite, who was part of Wednesday’s criminal announcement in Cincinnati, Ohio, over 75,000 Americans died last year due to opioid overdoses.  

“The Department of Justice will continue to work tirelessly with its partners to combat this epidemic and to seek to prevent the next tragic loss of life,” Polite said. He defendants span seven states and account for approximately $7 million in opioid-related fraud loss, according to the Justice Department. One pharmacist in Florida allegedly sold 219,567 pills of oxycodone and 112,840 pills of hydromorphone on the black market between 2019 and 2021. 


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