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US DOJ announces formation of Opiod Fraud and Abuse Detection Unit

At the Columbus Police Academy in Ohio, US Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the formation of the Opioid Fraud and Abuse Detection Unit, a pilot program to use data to help combat the opioid crisis.

The announcement was made on Wednesday.

The unit will focus on opioid related health care fraud using data to identify and prosecute people contributing to the epidemic.

In addition, 12 Assistant US Attorneys will focus solely on investigating and prosecuting health care fraud related to prescription opioids.

The following districts will participate in the pilot program:

  • Middle District of Florida
  • Eastern District of Michigan
  • Northern District of Alabama
  • Eastern District of Tennessee
  • District of Nevada
  • Eastern District of Kentucky,
  • District of Maryland
  • Western District of Pennsylvania
  • Southern District of Ohio
  • Eastern District of California
  • Middle District of North Carolina
  • Southern District of West Virginia

On Monday, the president's Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis, formed by executive order in March, released an interim report which requests the president declare a national emergency under the Public Health Service Act or the Stafford Act.

The report made several recommendations, including:

  • Rapidly increase treatment capacity. Grant waiver approvals for all 50 states to quickly eliminate barriers to treatment resulting from the federal Institutes for Mental Diseases exclusion within the Medicaid program. This will immediately open treatment to thousands of Americans in existing facilities in all 50 states.
  • Mandate prescriber education initiatives with the assistance of medical and dental schools across the country to enhance prevention efforts. Mandate medical education training in opioid prescribing and risks of developing an SUD by amending the Controlled Substance Act to require all Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) registrants to take a course in proper treatment of pain. HHS should work with partners to ensure additional training opportunities, including continuing education courses for professionals.
  • Immediately establish and fund a federal incentive to enhance access to Medication - Assisted Treatment (MAT). Require that all modes of MAT are offered at every licensed MAT facility and that those decisions are based on what is best for the patient. Partner with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the industry to facilitate testing and development of new MAT treatments.
  • Provide model legislation for states to allow naloxone dispensing via standing orders, as well as requiring the prescribing of naloxone with high-risk opioid prescriptions; we must equip all law enforcement in the United States with naloxone to save lives.
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