Prescriber notification initiative for opioids
ATLANTA – The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia has identified approximately 30 medical professionals who are prescribing opioids in significantly higher quantities or doses than their peers or to patients who may pose a high risk of abuse or diversion. The U.S. Attorney will provide these prescribers with specific information about their prescription patterns and will refer them to educational materials, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Guidelines for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain, related to safe opioid prescription practices.
“Medical professionals have an obligation to the safety and well-being of their patients,” said U.S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak. “Many opioid prescribers may not realize that they are overprescribing opioids. We aim to make these medical prescribers - who are outliers - aware of their atypical practices, so that they can make informed decisions about whether their opioid prescriptions are for a legitimate medical purpose. We will also continue to monitor prescribing habits.”
According to the CDC, more than 140 Americans die from an opioid overdose every day. This epidemic was created, in part, by the widespread over-prescription of opioids by medical professionals during previous years. It is our plan to strategically reduce the impact of this crisis within our community by notifying outlier prescribers that their opioid prescribing habits are not in conformity with accepted standards or the prescribing habits of their peers. Through this initiative and others, it is the goal of the Department of Justice to reduce opioid prescriptions by one-third over the next three years.
The Department of Justice has made no determination, at this time, that prescribers who receive these letters have violated the law. We have a duty, however, to protect the lives and safety of our citizens, and making information available to prescribers within the District has the potential to save lives.
This prescriber notification message is part of Operation SCOPE (Strategically Combatting Opioids through Prosecution and Enforcement), an initiative launched by the U.S. Attorney’s Office to partner with federal and local law enforcement to fight the devastating effects that illegally-prescribed painkillers, heroin, and synthetic opioids, such as fentanyl, have on our neighborhoods.
For further information please contact the U.S. Attorney’s Public Affairs Office at USAGAN.PressEmails@usdoj.gov or (404) 581-6016. The Internet address for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia is http://www.justice.gov/usao-ndga.