Amid the increasing horrors of the opioid epidemic in America, Attorney General Jeff Sessions is taking aim at doctors and pharmacists who are costing the U.S. billions of dollars.

Federal prosecutors have already charged more than 400 for participating in opioid scams and fraud totaling more than $1.3 billion in what Sessions calls, “the largest health care fraud takedown operation in American history.”

The AG went on to say that the case involves doctors, nurses and pharmacists in Michigan and Florida that “have chosen to violate their oaths and put greed ahead of their patients.”

The cost of the crisis is not only measured in terms of fraudulent billing, but by the number of people who have become addicted to the opioids after inappropriate prescribing by unscrupulous providers or in some cases, physicians who are untrained to handle pain management for their patients.

“They seem oblivious to the disastrous consequences of their greed. Their actions not only enrich themselves, often at the expense of taxpayers, but also feed addictions and cause addictions to start,” said Sessions.

An estimated 52,000 Americans died of overdoses in 2015, and last year, 33,000 died of opioid addiction.

Countless others have become addicted to the painkillers originally touted as harmless by pharmaceutical companies.

In fact, medications such as Vicodin, also known as hydrocodone, and Oxycontin regularly prescribed for post-operative and chronic pain such as migraines or injuries, are highly addictive, creating drug addicts who are unable to work or care for themselves or their families.

There has been a huge increase in the number of people becoming dependent on unemployment, food stamps and subsidized housing, as well as needing additional health care – all costs borne by the taxpayer.

In many cases, the medications were over-prescribed to the poor and the elderly, often in impoverished areas around the country, and the cost of the drugs was billed to the federal government – to the taxpayer.

As patients became addicted, the attendant costs are passed on to the taxpayer while the pharmaceuticals rake in the profits.

Purdue, a family-owned company worth $14 billion, earned $35 billion dollars from Oxycontin prescriptions alone in 2015.

One example of the blatant fraud that happened under the Obama administrations watch is a Florida rehab facility that allegedly recruited addicts with gift cards and visits to strip clubs, generating $58 million in fake treatments.

Yet taxpayers will be picking up the tab for more than the direct amount made by fraud – they will continue to pay for the care of the addicts for decades to come.


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Source: Daily Mail

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