Feds form strike force to fight opioid abuse in Appalachia

The U.S. Department of Justice is forming a strike force to fight opioid abuse in Appalachia.

“Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski says the Appalachian Regional Prescription Opioid Strike Force will investigate health-care fraud schemes and prosecute medical professionals and others involved in the illegal distribution of opioids,” The Associated Press reports.

The department said the strike force will include extra prosecutors, the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General.

Benczkowski said suffering caused by opioid abuse is “particularly staggering” in Appalachia. He says the problem is “more reprehensible when unscrupulous physicians and pharmacies” contribute to the epidemic by illegally supplying prescription painkillers.

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