Feds targeting Indiana pill mill doctors, pharmacists

June 4, 2015

A recent spike in HIV cases throughout Indiana has federal prosecutors closely scrutinizing doctors and pharmacists who may be recklessly prescribing painkillers.

A recent spike in HIV cases throughout Indiana has federal prosecutors closely scrutinizing doctors and pharmacists who may be recklessly prescribing painkillers.

State officials confirm that more than 160 people have tested positive for HIV in southern Indiana this year. Healthcare officials speculate that drug abusers who graduate to heroin from painkillers are fueling the HIV epidemic. And the painkiller abuse is linked to some unscrupulous doctors and pharmacists.

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“Really this has caught our attention,” U.S. Attorney Josh Minkler toldCBS4. “We need to react immediately to this problem. Our resources are to go after the sources, and I think at least my studies have shown, we know where the prescription drugs come from.”

Minkler said some doctors are writing too many prescriptions, and some pharmacies are too willing to fill them. He said many of the controlled substances end up on the black market, which eventually leads to heroin use.

“It got the attention at the highest levels of the Department of Justice,” Minkler said. “And so I’ve looked into it. We have to take ownership of, at least in the United States Attorney’s Office, demand reduction.”

Three full-time agents with the Drug Enforcement Administration and an assistant U.S. attorney are focusing on the Indiana problem, Minkler said.

 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 109 painkiller prescriptions were written for every 100 people in Indiana in 2015. The national average was 82 prescriptions per 100 people. Click here to see that report.

 “I was very surprised,” Minkler said. “I was not aware of the stats that show how often painkillers are prescribed in this state versus the rest of the country.”

See also: Doctor dispensing linked to unnecessary opioid Rxs