The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) recognizes the abuse of prescription drugs as a serious and growing health problem. In response to the problem, the DEA has launched investigations on many physicians throughout New York and New York City for straying from DEA prescription guidelines, particularly the over-prescription of opiates/opioid analgesics (pain killers) and the under-treatment of pain.
The DEA has specified that physicians may prescribe controlled substances only for legitimate medical purposes in the usual course of professional practice of medicine. However, the DEA did not specify what actions constitute legitimate medical purposes in the usual course of profession practice of medicine, which may allow legal authorities to conduct a myriad of investigations on physicians for illegitimately prescribing controlled substances.
Although it is legal for physicians to prescribe controlled substances to themselves, physicians have to be aware that proper documentation is made afterwards. If not, the DEA may consider the undocumented dispensing of drugs to be a violation of the Controlled Substance Act (CSA) and an illegitimate medical purpose.
The DEA has federal authority to handle the case administratively, which gives them the ability to institute administrative proceeding that could result in fines or the loss of DEA registration. Depending on the case, DEA regulations may also allow for administrative seizure or forfeiture of property.
Once the DEA establishes a case, they may refer it to New York federal or state prosecutor’s office to handle the case criminally, or the New York State Board of Medical Examiners for licensure issues.
What can I do to prevent further investigation?
Prevention is usually the best way to go. At the beginning of a fraud investigation, it is best to seek an experienced defense counsel for a consultation before talking to an investigator.
If you have recently been contacted by the DEA in New York New York City for controlled substance violation, then call our New York City criminal lawyers at (212) 227 0860 to get professional legal assistance.