Widespread raids lead to numerous drug charges

The sale and manufacture of illegal drugs is a serious social problem, and one that Louisiana courts and law enforcement take very seriously. That said, when large-scale drug raids are conducted, there are inevitably mistakes that will be made. Often, innocent people are swept up during these crime sweeps and enter into the frightening and frustrating legal process. Such may be the case for some of the nearly 300 individuals who either have been or are expected to be arrested on drug charges in a recent law enforcement action.

The drug investigation was conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration and covered numerous states. The DEA was focusing on prescription drug abuse and conducted raids at pain clinics, pharmacies and other locations within multiple Southern states, including Louisiana. As of the time of this report, 140 individuals have been arrested, and another 170 arrests are anticipated. Some of those arrested are medical professionals, who are accused of over-prescribing prescription medication to patients.

In addition to the arrests, the DEA is seeking the surrender of the DEA registration numbers that facilities must have in place in order to prescribe certain medications. Some of the affected pharmacies and clinics have turned in their DEA numbers, and the agency is taking steps to revoke as many as 24 other numbers. According to the agency, prescription opiates are responsible for as many as 44 deaths each day from overdose.

While the push to reform harmful prescribing practices is laudable, the fact remains that many of those arrested in this crime sweep may be innocent of the drug charges that they now face. Each of those individuals will have the chance to present their side before a court of law and will likely make every effort to do so. Avoiding a conviction is crucial for those in Louisiana whose career depends on providing medical care.

Source: nola.com, "DEA wrapping up prescription drug raids in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas", May 20, 2015

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