A doctor from New Jersey has admitted to the charges of prescribing opioids to patients whom he had never met or known, with the intention to sell the painkillers at an inflated price on the streets. The entire plan, devised along with six others, was a part of a greater scheme where individuals dependent on opioids were recruited to fill in their prescriptions. Later, the doctor and the other partners sold these pills at a higher price in the gray market.
According to the Atlantic County prosecutors, 50-year-old Alan Faustino prescribed a high number of prescription drugs like Xanax and oxycodone to recruited patients and earned huge profits by selling them at overpriced rates later on. Though Faustino, a resident of Absecon, Atlantic County, New Jersey, was arrested in 2015, he pleaded guilty to charges of distributing controlled substances only last week. The quantum of his sentence will be pronounced on April 15, 2018 and it is likely that he may face up to 10 years in prison.
In the wake of the opioid crisis ravaging the United States, such irresponsible acts, that too from a doctor, should draw widespread condemnation. In addition to educating the general public about the dangers of flirting with painkillers, a doctor fueling the opioid epidemic should attract exemplary punishment so that it deters others from embarking on a similar path.
Opioid epidemic sounding the death knell
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 64,000 people in the U.S. died due to a drug overdose in 2016, and nearly two-thirds of these deaths were linked to opioids like OxyContin, Vicodin and drugs like fentanyl and heroin. Deaths from drug overdoses far exceed the deaths caused by other causes like car accidents or gun violence in the nation. Opioid deaths have quadrupled since 1999 and are showing no signs of remission.
In a speech in October last year, President Donald Trump had stated that the country has never seen something like this before. He went on to declare the opioid crisis as a public health emergency.
Dealing with opioid addiction
Although chronic and severe opioid addiction may be fatal, one can gain sobriety with timely intervention at any credible rehab. If you have a loved one struggling with an addiction to opioids or any other substance, seek immediate help from expert clinicians in a center near home. A comprehensive treatment under the supervision of doctors can help an individual get rid of opioid dependence and lead an addiction-free, happy and productive life.
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