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2 Orange County doctors arrested for selling opioids through fraudulent prescriptions

Published On: 08-02-2017 in Category: addiction, Drug trafficking, opioids, substance abuse

In the ongoing clampdown against the fraudulent practices in the health care industry, federal authorities in Southern California have arrested 14 people, including two Orange County doctors, for their alleged role in the fraud. The two doctors — Jeffrey Olsen of Laguna Beach and Thomas Powers of Santa Ana — have been accused of prescribing and distributing prescription drugs to people suffering from opioid use disorders.

According to federal prosecutors, Olsen is said to have sold hundreds of counterfeit prescriptions for addictive opioids in other states, without even screening or examining the patients for a possible illness. In fact, it is alleged that Olsen charged as much as $3,000 to write prescriptions to clients for the opioid of their choice. Evidences suggest that he was involved in the sale of over 1.2 million opioids, including oxycodone, Soma and Xanax, media reports said on July 13, 2017. Even Powers allegedly indulged in the authorizing prescriptions for patients he didn’t examine in exchange for payments of about $1.2 million from one Anthony Paduano, a resident of Newport Beach who was also arrested in the crackdown.

Special Agent in Charge Christian Schrank of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General said, “Those who would enrich themselves through health care fraud – including billing for unnecessary services, accepting kickbacks, and billing for prescriptions that were never provided – are putting profits over patients, stealing from government health programs and taxpayers alike.”

Drug addiction is a serious problem plaguing Orange County

Owing to the state’s geographical proximity to the U.S.-Mexico border, Mexican drug cartels dominate the narcotic trafficking scene through street gangs in almost the entire state of California, especially in the Latino-dominated neighborhoods of Orange, Los Angeles and San Diego counties. It is not an unusual sight in Orange County to see federal and local authorities cooperating with each other to tighten the noose around the neck of the drug mafia and debilitate their strong grip over the street gangs, causing massive turmoil and drug-fueled brutalities across neighborhoods in the region. Experts say that La Familia Michoacana and Sinaloa cartel are two drug trafficking organizations, which rule the roost in these areas.

Studies indicate that the majority of gangs operating in Orange and the neighboring counties attribute their high success rates to the availability of cheap drugs and tactful modes of distribution when compared to the rest of the nation. No wonder, this is indeed disturbing as drugs are usually transported through this region or stored in the umpteen stash houses dotting the landscape before making it to other American cities northwards. In fact, law enforcement authorities say that drug addiction trends in Orange County serve as indicators of trends nationwide.

Although studies in the past have pointed toward methamphetamine as the drug of choice throughout the region, officials have observed a huge spike in prescription opioid overdoses. With party drugs and other synthetic substances devastating communities, particularly teens and young adults, urban pockets in Southern California known for a flashy and rocking nightlife are becoming hotbeds of abuse involving drugs such as ecstasy, ketamine and phencyclidine (PCP).

Battling addiction menace  

If you or your loved one is battling addiction to alcohol or any other substance, seek treatment immediately. The Orange County Drug Treatment and Rehab Center can help you get one of the best addiction treatment programs and embrace sobriety. You may call our 24/7 helpline number 714-202-4669 for more information on different treatment options in your vicinity.

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