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    Pharmacies Trafficking Opioids Targeted by DEA

    Operation Faux Pharmacy resulted in over half a million drugs seized.

    The Drug Enforcement Administration recently identified 26 pharmacies in California, Hawaii, and Nevada that may be illegally trafficking opioids.

    The investigation is part of the agency’s Operation Faux Pharmacy, which has resulted in the seizure of nearly 600,000 dosage units of scheduled drugs nationwide.

    This week, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California filed search warrants with the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California on several pharmacies that are part of the prescription opioids investigation. Search warrants were issued against United Pharmacy Inc. in Los Angeles, CA; Home Care Pharmacy in Simi Valley, CA; Oasis Pharmacy in Victorville, CA; Blythe Drug in Blythe, CA; Dial Drug Pharmacy in Laguna Hills, CA; Procare Pharmacy in Murrieta, CA; Sunny Hills Pharmacy in Fullerton, CA; and Tower Pharmacy in Mission Viejo, CA.

    The DEA identified the fraudulent pharmacies as those with “exceptionally high numbers of oxycodone prescriptions, excessive or frequent opioid purchases, multiple customers with identical addresses, or customers traveling extreme distances to specific pharmacies despite access to more convenient options,” the agency said in a statement.

    Related article: Pharmacists Busted for Prying into Prince’s Medical Records

    In the case of United Pharmacy, the business submitted millions of dollars’ worth of fraudulent Medicare claims for invalid narcotics prescriptions, according to the court filing. In addition, United was implicated in a grand jury investigation in Massachusetts over fraudulent insurance claims.

    The DEA and intelligence analysts discovered some of the opioids diversion by examining data that manufacturers and distributors report to DEA, as well as Prescription Drug Monitoring Program information and Health and Human Services data.

    “DEA is fighting the opioid crisis on multiple levels, using every resource available to identify reckless doctors and rogue businesses that fuel addiction in our neighborhoods and communities,” said DEA Acting Administrator Robert W. Patterson. “We will continue to identify and hold accountable the most significant drug threats, using every tool at our disposal — administrative, civil and criminal — to fight the diversion of controlled substances.”

    Christine Blank
    Contributing Editor Christine Blank is a freelance writer based in Florida.

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