What to Expect if You Are Involved in an Opioid Investigation

Illionois defense attorney,  Illinois criminal defense lawyerIn 2017, then Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the government’s war on opioids. Ever since, no healthcare agency or provider has been immune from the Drug Enforcement Agency’s (DEA) investigations. For nearly two years, the DEA has been aggressively investigating physicians, pharmacists, dentists, and other healthcare professionals for drug diversion.

Due to this, it is important healthcare providers understand the initial signs that could indicate they are under investigation, so they can take the necessary steps to address the problem quickly. The process you can expect if you are under investigation are below.

Patient File Audit

One of the first signs that you are under investigation for drug diversion is if you receive a request from the DEA asking for patient charts. This will come either from a commercial insurance carrier or a DEA subpoena. There are two reasons for this audit. The first is that you or your practice has been singled out based on a complaint either from a patient or through data comparison.

The second reason is because the DEA’s investigation is only going to be as strong as the patient charts are weak. The DEA will look to see if the charts are filled out properly, and how detailed the notes are. Investigators will also evaluate if opioid prescriptions were necessary during the audit.

A Search Warrant

Search warrants obtained from a judge by the DEA in connection with a drug diversion case are more commonplace today than they ever were. To obtain a search warrant, the DEA must convince a federal magistrate judge that there is probable cause to determine if a crime has been committed at the location to be searched. It is important to remember that not every search warrant results in criminal charges. However, if the DEA has shown up at your place of work with a search warrant, it is an indication that the case has progressed and the prosecution has good reason to believe they have a winning case.

The Indictment

An indictment may be issued after a grand jury listens to the case. A grand jury is comprised of 16 to 23 people. They listen to the facts of the case and determine if the prosecution has enough evidence to go to trial. If they determine the prosecution does have the evidence necessary, the grand jury will issue an indictment. When this happens, it means the grand jury is convinced there is significant probable cause that the accused is guilty. Hopefully cases do not get to this point but when they do, healthcare professionals must speak to a federal criminal defense attorney that can help.

Think You Are Under Investigation? Speak to an Illinois Federal Criminal Defense Attorney

It is important to know the signs and signals that you might be under federal investigation for drug diversion. This is the only way to protect yourself from possible conviction. When you understand the signs and speak to a skilled  Chicago federal criminal defense attorney, you have a much better chance of collecting evidence to refute their claims, and beat the charges. If you think you are under investigation, call the Law Offices of Hal M. Garfinkel at 312-270-0999 for your free consultation. We will get started on your case right away, and give you the best chance of success.

Source:

https://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/21cfr/21usc/

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