Drug Diversion

During her time in charge of the White Collar Crime Division and Affirmative Civil Enforcement Unit at the United States Attorney’s Office, Deborah gained over 15 years of experience in criminal and civil cases involving DEA registrants.

The Federal and State Government Regulates Every Aspect of the Drug Industry.

Deborah can provide sound advice to members of the pharmaceutical and healthcare industry on state and federal controlled substance compliance issues, and can represent and defend clients before federal and state administrative agencies. She has worked extensively in cases involving the regulation of controlled substances which enables her to provide full-scale, drug-related legal advice to clients.

Deborah has many years of experience in successfully representing healthcare providers and all other types of clients who are facing a potential drug diversion investigation by the DEA and other federal agencies. Deborah has represented numerous healthcare providers in a wide array of DEA drug diversion cases, ranging from federal indictments to minor licensing issues. She has helped clients like physicians, physician assistants, pharmacists, and many other types of healthcare providers in all phases of their case – ranging from investigation, to trial, and avoiding prosecution.

Deborah represents healthcare providers of all size, and caliber, accused of drug diversion. She can help at all stages of the drug diversion case, including representing you when you’re speaking to investigators, defending you at board and administrative hearings, and helping prevent license suspension. She can even help health providers accused of drug diversion by an employer – by negotiating with your employer to resolve the allegations before it’s reported to the board.

What is Drug Diversion?

Drug diversion is a very common charge, that comes with extremely high penalties. The US Department of Health & Human Service’s Office of I.G., defines drug diversion as when prescription drugs are used for illegal purposes. Anyone involved in the chain of custody and sale, can be charged and prosecuted for the illegal activities. For example, the doctor who sells Oxycontin pills can face drug diversion criminal penalties, in addition to the drug dealer and the person who purchases the drugs. It’s common for additional charges to be tacked on, in order to get a harsher penalty by the prosecutors.

What to Expect in These Cases

DEA drug diversion criminal investigations happen often. Often, many law enforcement agencies will observe drug providers before they take action. They’ll conduct an extensive investigation, in order to conduct have as much evidence as possible to make sure their case is strong. They’ll gather substantial evidence, in order to use it in court, so they can pursue formal charges or setup a sting operation. It’s common for members of law enforcement to pose as a patient, a drug dealer, or an illicit drug user, so they can conduct an arrest, or seize evidence.

Many states have tried to stop drug diversion by creating state level laws. These statutes are applied in order to secure evidence from suspects who have conducted wrongdoing. For example, the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention states that 23 states have laws that prevent valid patients from getting more than a 30 day supply of medication. Many states also have placed limits on emergency dispensing of such drugs. It’s common for DEA drug diversion investigations to focus on pharmacies and doctors who fulfill orders for medication that they shouldn’t be doing.

Who is Being Targeted?

Physicians, nurses, physician assistants, pharmacists, and many other types of healthcare providers are typically targeted in these cases. Drug users can also be targeted in a drug diversion case, with other crimes, like doctor shopping, or trying to get multiple prescriptions filled – by going to different doctors. Many people, often don’t know their rights. As a result, they are coerced into making false statements or inaccurate statements to investigations which could put them in a tricky situation. When people are threatened with drug diversion charges, in addition to hearing charges of conspiracy, and drug distribution charges, they may end up accepting plea deals that aren’t favorable. Doctors and nurses, are often targeted under suspicions of drug diversion – and are vulnerable to prosecutorial tactics.

The DEA office of diversion control was setup to combat cases of drug diversion against healthcare providers. The DEA investigates the alleged diversion cases, and assists the DOJ in order to indict physicians, nurses, pharmacists, and others, involved in a criminal drug diversion case which is a violation of the Controlled Substances Act. After the DEA finishes their DEA drug diversion investigation, the DOJ will determine if Federal prosecution is warranted, or if the state prosecutors and state licensing board should handle the case. Typically, the DEA will handle drug diversion cases by sending undercover officers and patients to the physician/pharmacist – while having everything recorded. After the case is established, the DEA will raid the practice/pharmacy, in cooperation with local authorities and/or FBI. During the raid, they’ll try to obtain a statement from the healthcare providers in the practice/pharmacy.

Honors and Professional Recognition