DOJ Announces Multiple Efforts on Opioids and Other Drugs

This week, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) released three major announcements pertaining to its efforts to minimize an increase in opioid use and opioid-related deaths in recent years. DOJ simultaneously announced multiple arrests of opioid manufacturers and vendors and what it terms “first-of-its-kind action to reduce opioid over-prescription.”

The first announced arrests were of two Chinese nationals based in Shanghai, China, who “are charged with conspiracy to manufacture and distribute controlled substances, conspiracy to import controlled substances into the United States, operating a continued criminal enterprise, money laundering and other crimes.” The charges “carry a potential sentence of life imprisonment because the drugs involved resulted in death, and the defendants’ conduct qualifies for an enhancement under the kingpin statute,” according to DOJ’s release.

DOJ also announced multiple arrests under an effort it named “Operation Darkness Falls,” intended to target “people and organizations that sell fentanyl and other drugs over the dark net,” including vendors who are accused of possessing and distributing “fentanyl, MethoxyAcetylFentanyl (MAF), other fentanyl analogues, heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, MDMA, LSD, marijuana, Xanax, Oxycodone and other drugs.”

Finally, DOJ also announced its first-ever restraining orders against individual doctors “allegedly prescribing opioids illegally under the Controlled Substances Act.” The two doctors are accused of having “recklessly and unnecessarily distributed painkillers and other drugs” and are forbidden from writing prescriptions under the orders.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions delivered a statement to mark DOJ’s efforts, saying, “Today’s announcements are a warning to every trafficker, every crooked doctor or pharmacist, and every drug company, every chairman and foreign national and company that puts greed before the lives and health of the American people: this Justice Department will use civil and criminal penalties alike and we will find you, put you in jail, or make you pay.”

Posted in The Takedown

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