Attorney General Sessions and HHS Secretary Price Announce National Health Care Fraud Takedown


GOOD MORNING THANK YOU ALL FOR BEING HERE

THIS IS THE 8TH YEAR OF THE HEALTH CARE FRAUD TAKEDOWN THIS EVENT HIGHLIGHTS THE ENORMITY OF THE HEALTH CARE FRAUD PROBLEMS WE FACE THIS PROBLEM IS COMPOUNDED BY THE FACT THAT OUR COUNTRY IS IN THE MIDST OF THE DEADLIEST DRUG CRISIS IN OUR NATION’S HISTORY, CAUSING MORE DEATHS THAN WE HAVE EVER SEEN IN OUR NATION INDEED AN EXTRAORDINARY NUMBER OF THE CASES THAT WE WILL BE HIGHLIGHTING TODAY THAT ARE IN OUR REPORT ARE INVOLVED WITH OPIOID PRESCRIPTION ABUSE MORE AMERICANS DIE OF A DRUG OVERDOSE EVERY 11 MINUTES AND MORE THAN 2 MILLION AMERICANS ARE ENSNARED IN ADDICTION TO PRESCRIPTION PAINKILLERS

EVERY DAY AS A RESULT OF DRUG ABUSE, AMERICAN FAMILIES ARE BEING BANKRUPTED, BROKEN APART, FRIENDSHIPS ENDED, AND PROMISING LIVES AND CAREERS CUT SHORT DRUG ADDICTION IS CAUSING MORE AND MORE CRIME AND VIOLENCE IN OUR COMMUNITIES ACROSS THIS NATION TOO MANY TRUSTED MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS LIKE DOCTORS AND NURSES AND PHARMACISTS HAVE CHOSEN TO VIOLATE THEIR OATHS AND PUT GREED AHEAD OF THEIR PATIENTS AMAZINGLY, SOME HAVE MADE THE PRACTICES INTO MULTIMILLION DOLLAR CRIMINAL ENTERPRISES THEY SEEM OBLIVIOUS TO THE DISASTROUS CONSEQUENCES OF THEIR GREED

THEIR ACTIONS NOT ONLY ENRICH THEMSELVES OFTEN AT THE EXPENSE OF THE TAXPAYER, BUT ALSO FEED ADDICTIONS AND CAUSED ADDICTIONS TO BEGIN THE CONSEQUENCES ARE REAL THE EMERGENCY ROOMS, JAIL CELLS, FUTURES LOST, AND GRAVEYARDS ARE THE RESULTS AND SO TODAY, THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE IN CONJUNCTION WITH THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES IS ANNOUNCING THE LARGEST HEALTH CARE FRAUD TAKEDOWN OPERATION IN AMERICAN HISTORY THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE COORDINATED EFFORTS BETWEEN OUR CRIMINAL DIVISIONS, U

S ATTORNEYS’ OFFICES, HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, AND MORE THAN 1000 STATE, LOCAL, AND FEDERAL LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENTS TO CHARGE 412 DEFENDANTS, INCLUDING 56 DOCTORS THESE DEFENDANTS HAVE DEFRAUDED TAXPAYERS OF APPROXIMATELY $13 BILLION AS A RESULT OF THIS OPERATION, 205 HEALTH CARE PROVIDERS ARE NOW IN THE PROCESS OF BEING SUSPENDED OR BANNED FROM PARTICIPATION IN ANY FEDERAL HEALTH CARE PROGRAMS

AMONG THOSE DEFENDANTS ANNOUNCED TODAY, 120 HAVE BEEN CHARGED WITH OPIOID RELATED CRIMES, MAKING THIS ALSO THE LARGEST OPIOID RELATED FRAUD TAKEDOWN IN AMERICAN HISTORY ONE GROUP OF DEFENDANTS INCLUDING SIX DOCTORS ARE ALLEGED TO HAVE OPERATED A SCHEME IN MICHIGAN TO PRESCRIBE PATIENTS WITH UNNECESSARY OPIOIDS, SOME OF WHICH ENDED UP FOR SALE ON THE STREETS THESE DEFENDANTS ALLEGEDLY BILLED MEDICARE FOR $164 MILLION IN FALSE AND FRAUDULENT CLAIMS ONE FAKE REHAB FACILITY FOR DRUG ADDICTS IN PALM BEACH IS ALLEGED TO HAVE RECRUITED ADDICTS WITH GIFT CARDS, VISITS TO STRIP CLUBS, AND EVEN DRUGS ENABLING THE COMPANY TO BILL FOR MORE THAN $58 MILLION IN FALSE TREATMENTS AND FALSE TESTS ANOTHER ILLEGAL CLINIC IN HOUSTON ALLEGEDLY GAVE OUT PRESCRIPTIONS FOR CASH

JUST ONE DOCTOR — ONE DOCTOR– AT THIS CLINIC ALLEGEDLY GAVE OUT 12,000 OPIOID PRESCRIPTION FOR OVER 2 MILLION ILLEGAL PAINKILLER DOSES THESE DEFENDANTS HAVE BEEN CHARGED, AND THEY WILL FACE JUSTICE WHILE TODAY IS A HISTORIC DAY, THE DEPARTMENT'S WORK IS CERTAINLY NOT FINISHED IN FACT, IT IS JUST BEGINNING WE WILL CONTINUE TO FIND ARREST, PROSECUTE, CONVICT, AND INCARCERATE FRAUDSTERS, DRUG DEALERS WHEREVER THEY ARE

WE WILL USE EVERY TOOL WE HAVE TO STOP CRIMINALS FROM EXPLOITING VULNERABLE PEOPLE AND STEALING OUR HARD-EARNED TAX DOLLARS WE ARE CONTINUING TO WORK HARD TO DEVELOP EVEN MORE TECHNIQUES, TO IDENTIFY AND PROSECUTE WRONGDOERS WE ARE SENDING A CLEAR MESSAGE TO CRIMINALS ACROSS THIS COUNTRY WE WILL FIND YOU WE WILL BRING YOU TO JUSTICE

AND YOU WILL PAY A VERY HIGH PRICE FOR WHAT YOU HAVE DONE SO I WANT TO THANK MY GREAT FRIEND AND SUPERB SECRETARY OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, TOM PRICE, FOR HIS LEADERSHIP AND PARTNERSHIP AND FOR SHARING HIS EXPERTISE AS A RENOWNED PHYSICIAN AND LEADING HIS TEAM MEMBERS IN THIS EFFORT I WANT TO ALSO THANK THE DEDICATED HHS PERSONNEL FOR THEIR VALUABLE ASSISTANCE I WANT TO THANK ALL OF THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE YOU WILL HEAR FROM THEM TODAY

FOR THE ATTORNEYS, AND STAFF, AND AGENTS WHO HAVE WORKED TOGETHER TO MAKE THIS SUCCESSFUL ANNOUNCEMENT THEY HAVE MADE THE ENTIRE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE PROUD ABOVE ALL, I THINK WE OWE A MAJOR DEBT OF GRATITUDE TO THE OVER 1000 LAW OFFICERS INVOLVED IN THESE CASES I WANT TO THANK THEM AND THEIR FAMILIES FOR THE SERVICE AND COMMITMENT THEY HAVE GIVEN TO THEIR COUNTRY THANK YOU

AND NOW, I WILL TURN THE PROGRAM OVER TO SECRETARY PRICE TOM SECRETARY PRICE: THANK YOU SO MUCH MR ATTORNEY GENERAL GOOD MORNING TO YOU

I APPRECIATE YOU FOR HOSTING THIS EVENT, AND THANKS TO ALL OF YOU FOR BEING HERE I WOULD LIKE TO BEGIN BY RECOGNIZING THOSE FOLKS WHO ARE NOT ABLE TO BE HERE TODAY, BUT WITHOUT WHOM THIS EVENT WOULD NOT BE POSSIBLE AS THE ATTORNEY GENERAL MENTIONED, TO THE THOUSANDS OF MEN AND WOMEN SERVING IN STATE AND FEDERAL LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES ON THE FRONT LINES OF BATTLING HEALTH CARE FRAUD IN AMERICA, THANK YOU FOR YOUR HARD WORK AND YOUR HEROISM THAT HAVE BROUGHT SO MANY CRIMINALS TO JUSTICE HEALTH CARE FRAUD IS A CRIME THAT DESERVES SPECIAL CONDEMNATION, AND REQUIRES SPECIAL COOPERATION TO COMBAT NOT ONLY DOES IT INVOLVE STEALING BILLIONS OF TAXPAYER DOLLARS FROM AMERICA’S SENIORS AND THE MEDICALLY NEEDY, BUT IT ALSO UNDERMINES THE AMERICAN PEOPLE'S TRUST IN THEIR HEALTHCARE SYSTEM AND OUR NATION’S MOST IMPORTANT PUBLIC INSTITUTIONS

AS A PHYSICIAN AND AS SECRETARY OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES I CAN TELL YOU THAT THIS DISTRUST IS OFTENTIMES MISPLACED AMERICA HAS THE BEST DOCTORS AND HEALTH CARE PROVIDERS IN THE WORLD BUT THEIR ABILITY TO PROVIDE AFFORDABLE, HIGH-QUALITY CARE TO THEIR PATIENTS IS JEOPARDIZED EVERY SINGLE TIME A CRIMINAL COMMITS HEALTH CARE FRAUD SO IT IS IMPORTANT TO RECOGNIZE THAT THE INDIVIDUALS TARGETED WITHIN OUR TAKEDOWN OPERATIONS ARE IN THE BUSINESS NOT OF CARING FOR PATIENTS, BUT OF MANIPULATING THEM AND EXPLOITING THEM NOW WITH A NAME LIKE THE NATIONAL HEALTHCARE TAKEDOWN FRAUD TAKEDOWN, YOU MIGHT THINK THIS OPERATION ARRESTS MOSTLY PHYSICIANS

IN SOME CASES, THEY DO, BUT THAT IS NOT THE CASE FOR THE MAJORITY IN FACT, IT IS NOT EVEN CLOSE THIS YEAR'S TAKEDOWN INVOLVED OVER 412 CHARGED DEFENDANTS, BUT THE VAST MAJORITY OF THEM ARE NOT PHYSICIANS OR HEALTH CARE PROVIDERS AND EVEN THOSE DEFENDANTS WHO DO HAVE A MEDICAL LICENSE IN PRACTICE, THEY ARE NOT TRUE MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS THEY ARE PROFESSIONAL CRIMINALS

THIS IS ESPECIALLY TRUE OF THE CRIMINALS WHO PREY ON SOME OF THE MOST VULNERABLE IN OUR SOCIETY, THE MILLIONS OF PEOPLE STRUGGLING WITH DRUG ADDICTION FOR MOST AMERICANS, THE OPIOID CRISIS TEARING APART FAMILIES AND COMMUNITIES ALL ACROSS OUR LAND IS A CAUSE OF GREAT SADNESS AND OF SYMPATHY BUT A FEW INDIVIDUALS LOOK AT THIS NATIONAL SCOURGE, AND THEY SEE AN OPPORTUNITY TO PROFIT FROM THEIR FELLOW CITIZENS'S SUFFERING AND PAIN AND THAT IS WHY THIS YEAR'S NATIONAL TAKEDOWN OPERATION AGGRESSIVELY TARGETED INDIVIDUALS WHO HAVE MALICIOUSLY CONTRIBUTED TO AMERICA'S OPIOID EPIDEMIC WHILE ALSO ENGAGING IN HEALTH CARE FRAUD THANKS TO THESE EFFORTS, FEWER CRIMINALS WILL BE ABLE TO EXPLOIT OUR NATION'S OPIATE CRISIS FOR THE OWN GAIN, AND MORE PEOPLE STRUGGLING WITH ADDICTION WILL BE ABLE TO GET THE HELP AND THE TREATMENT THAT THEY NEED

AND THIS REALLY EPITOMIZES WHAT THE NATIONAL TAKEDOWN OPERATION IS ALL ABOUT MORE THAN 50 YEARS AGO, AMERICA'S TRADITION OF HELPING OUR NEIGHBORS IN NEED INSPIRED A GENERATION TO CREATE MEDICARE AND MEDICAID PROGRAMS THAT PROVIDE CRITICAL HEALTHCARE SERVICES TO AMERICA'S SENIORS AND THOSE MOST VULNERABLE NOW, IT IS OUR GENERATION'S CHALLENGE TO KEEP THE PROMISES OF THESE PROGRAMS AND TO PROTECT THEM FOR OUR CHILDREN AND FOR OUR GRANDCHILDREN AND THIS REQUIRES RELENTLESSLY PURSUING ANYONE INVOLVED IN DEFRAUDING OUR NATION'S HEALTH CARE PROGRAMS

SOMEONE WHO INSTINCTIVELY UNDERSTANDS THE IMPORTANCE OF SAVING AND STRENGTHENING MEDICARE AND MEDICAID FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS IS PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP WE SAW THIS IN HIS FIRST BUDGET REQUEST, WHICH CALLED FOR A NEW $70 MILLION INVESTMENT IN THE HEALTH CARE FRAUD AND ABUSE CONTROL PROGRAM THROUGH HHS AND WE SAW IT IN HIS CHOICE FOR ATTORNEY GENERAL AND WE WILL CONTINUE TO WORK COLLABORATIVELY WITH THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE AND THE ATTORNEY GENERAL IN THIS AREA AND LOOK FORWARD TO MUCH MORE SUCCESS IT IS NOW MY PRIVILEGE TO TURN THE PODIUM OVER TO THE INSPECTOR GENERAL FOR THE HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES DEPARTMENT, DAN LEVINSON INSPECTOR GENERAL DANIEL INSPECTOR GENERAL LEVINSON: THANK YOU, MR SECRETARY, AND THANK YOU MR

ATTORNEY GENERAL AND GOOD MORNING AS YOU HAVE HEARD TODAY, TODAY'S ACTION MARKS THE NATION'S LARGEST CRIMINAL HEALTH CARE FRAUD TAKE DOWN IN HISTORY THIS HAS BEEN A MASSIVE OPERATION REQUIRING THE EXPERTISE AND COORDINATION OF MORE THAN 1000 FEDERAL, STATE, AND LOCAL LAW-ENFORCEMENT PERSONNEL, INCLUDING NEARLY 350 AGENTS FROM OUR OFFICE OF INSPECTOR GENERAL I WOULD LIKE TO THANK OUR OIG AGENTS WHO HAVE WORKED SO HARD OVER MANY MONTHS TO ACHIEVE THIS REMARKABLE AND UNPRECEDENTED MULTI-AGENCY ENFORCEMENT OPERATION I WOULD ALSO LIKE TO THANK OUR FEDERAL AND STATE PARTNERS WHO SHARE OUR COMMITMENT TO FIGHT FRAUD IN MEDICARE AND MEDICAID

IN PARTICULAR I AM DEEPLY GRATEFUL TO THE 30 STATE MEDICAID FRAUD CONTROL UNITS WHO PARTICIPATED IN THE TAKEDOWN, COORDINATING OUR PREVENTION, DETECTION, AND ENFORCEMENT EFFORTS WITH OUR PARTNERS IS CRUCIAL TO OUR SUCCESS IN COMBATING HEALTH CARE FRAUD AND I DO WANT TO UNDERSCORE THE IMPORTANCE OF THE HEALTH CARE FRAUD CONTROL UNITS AT THE STATE LEVEL BECAUSE, IN MANY CASES, THESE INVESTIGATORS WHO HAVE WORKED MANY YEARS IN FIELDS REQUIRING GREAT EXPERTISE AND EXPERIENCE ARE REALLY UNSUNG HEROES AND IT IS A RATHER COMPLICATED ACRONYM, MEDICAID FRAUD CONTROL UNITS, TO THINK ABOUT IN AN ACRONYM HEAVY CITY, BUT WE GREATLY APPRECIATE IT I KNOW I SPEAK FOR ALL OF OUR CRIMINAL INVESTIGATORS WHO WORKED SO HARD TO BRING THESE LAW ENFORCEMENT ACTIONS TO AN EFFECTIVE CLOSE I KNOW I SPEAK FOR OUR WHOLE TEAM WHEN I EXPRESS MY DEEP APPRECIATION TO NEARLY EVERY STATE'S MEDICAID FRAUD CONTROL UNIT 49 OF THE 50 STATES HAVE ONE

THEY PLAY A CRITICAL PART IN ENSURING THE INTEGRITY OF BOTH FEDERAL AND STATE FUNDS PERMITTED THROUGH STATE MEDICAID PROGRAMS TOGETHER, WE HAVE APPREHENDED INDIVIDUALS WHO ARE SUSPECTED OF DEFRAUDING VITAL HEALTHCARE PROGRAMS OUT OF MORE THAN $1 BILLION THIS IS REPREHENSIBLE THIS HEALTHCARE FRAUD NOT ONLY REPRESENTS A THEFT FROM TAXPAYERS WHO FUND THESE VITAL PROGRAMS AND AFFECTS THE MILLIONS OF AMERICANS WHO RELY ON QUALITY CARE IN MEDICARE AND MEDICAID IN THE WORST FRAUD CASES, GREED OVERPOWERS CARE, PUTTING PATIENTS'S HEALTH AT RISK

OIG SEES THIS ALL TOO OFTEN IN FRAUD CASES INVOLVING ILLEGAL PRESCRIBING AND DISPENSING OF OPIOIDS THIS TAKEDOWN INCLUDED 120 INDIVIDUALS CHARGED WITH FRAUD RELATED TO OPIOIDS IN ADDITION TO THE CHARGES ANNOUNCED TODAY, OIG IS ISSUING EXCLUSION NOTICES TO NEARLY 300 PHYSICIANS, NURSES, AND OTHER PROVIDERS BASED ON CONDUCT RELATED TO OPIOID DIVERSION AND ABUSE THESE INDIVIDUALS WILL BE PREVENTED FROM BILLING ALL FEDERALLY FUNDED HEALTH CARE PROGRAMS LATER THIS MORNING, OUR OFFICE WILL POST A REPORT REGARDING THE QUESTIONABLE PRESCRIBING OF OPIOIDS OF IN MEDICARE'S PRESCRIPTION DRUG PROGRAM

OF NOTE IS THAT MEDICARE SPENT OVER $4 BILLION IN OPIOIDS IN 2016 ONE IN EVERY THREE MEDICARE BENEFICIARIES RECEIVED A PRESCRIPTION OPIOID OVER HALF A MILLION BENEFICIARIES RECEIVED WHAT IS CONSIDERED HIGH AMOUNTS OF OPIOIDS MORE THAN 400 PRESCRIBERS HAD QUESTIONABLE OPIOID PRESCRIBING PATTERNS FOR BENEFICIARIES AT SERIOUS RISK OUR OIG WILL CONTINUE TO PLAY A VITAL LEADERSHIP ROLE IN THE MEDICARE FRAUD STRIKE FORCE TO TRACK DOWN THOSE WHO ABUSE IMPORTANT FEDERAL HEALTH CARE PROGRAMS

WE ARE COMMITTED TO HOLDING ACCOUNTABLE THOSE WHO THREATEN THE INTEGRITY OF ALL HHS PROGRAMS AND THE HEALTH OF EVERY AMERICAN WHO RELIES ON THESE PROGRAMS THANK YOU I WOULD NOW LIKE TO TURN OUR PRESS CONFERENCE OVER TO FBI ACTING DIRECTOR ANDREW MCCABE FBI ACTING DIRECTOR MCCABE: GOOD MORNING I WANT TO JOIN THE ATTORNEY GENERAL AND SECRETARY PRICE IN THANKING THOSE FOLKS WHO DO THE HARD WORK THAT MAKE THESE CASES POSSIBLE, ESPECIALLY MY FBI AGENTS AND ANALYSTS IN THE CRIMINAL INVESTIGATIVE DIVISION AND THE HEALTH CARE FRAUD UNIT AND IN THE 29 FBI FIELD OFFICES WHO PARTICIPATED ACROSS THE COUNTRY AND THE ENFORCEMENT ACTIONS WE'RE TALKING ABOUT THIS MORNING

AND OF COURSE, I HAVE TO THANK OUR PARTNERS IN THE FEDERAL AGENCIES AND AT THE STATE AND LOCAL LEVEL, AND PARTICULARLY ON THE MEDICARE FRAUD STRIKE FORCE TEAMS WITHOUT THEIR ASSISTANCE, WE WOULD NOT BE HERE TODAY SO THESE FOLKS ARE THE ONES ON THE FRONTLINES IN THE FIGHT AGAINST HEALTH CARE FRAUD THIS TAKEDOWN IS AN INCREDIBLY EXAMPLE OF THE SUCCESS OF THAT PARTNERSHIP IT’S OBVIOUS TO ANYONE WHO PICKS UP A NEWSPAPER OR TURNS ON THE NEWS THAT THE NATION IS IN THE MIDST OF A CRISIS

OPIOID ABUSE DESTROYS LIVES AND IT DEVASTATES FAMILIES IT HAS BECOME SO PREVALENT THAT THE NUMBER OF OPIOID RELATED DEATHS INCREASES EACH YEAR THESE OVERDOSES ARE NOT JUST HAPPENING IN SOME PLACES THEY ARE HAPPENING EVERY PLACE THEY ARE HAPPENING IN TOWNS AND COMMUNITIES ALL ACROSS THE COUNTRY

MEN AND WOMEN OF ALL AGES, OF ALL RACES, AND ALL BACKGROUNDS FALL VICTIM TO IT NARCOTICS OFFICERS HAVE ARRESTED SCHOOLTEACHERS, DOCTORS, NURSES, AND FELLOW LAW ENFORCEMENT PERSONNEL MANY WHO SUCCUMB TO THE LURE OF THE OPIOID HIGH OUR ARE KIDS, KIDS WHO TOOK ONE WRONG TURN AND BECAME HOOKED THIS WEEK, WE ARRESTED ONCE TRUSTED DOCTORS, PHARMACISTS, AND OTHER MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS WHO WERE CORRUPTED BY GREED THESE PEOPLE INFLICTED A SPECIAL KIND OF DAMAGE

THEY NOT ONLY DEFRAUDED MEDICARE, MEDICAID, AND TRI-CARE AND MANY MILLIONS OF TAXPAYER DOLLARS, THEY PREYED ON THE VULNERABLE, DISTRIBUTING POWERFUL OPIOIDS TO PEOPLE THEY KNEW WERE HOOKED ON THEM IN SOME CASES, WE HAD ADDICTS PACKED INTO STANDING ROOM ONLY WAITING ROOMS, WAITING FOR THOSE PRESCRIPTIONS WE HAVE DOCTORS WHO WROTE UNNECESSARY NARCOTICS PRESCRIPTIONS TO ADDICTS AND DRUG DEALERS IN RETURN FOR $250, $300 CASH PAYMENTS FOR EACH VISIT SOME DOCTORS WROTE OUT MORE PRESCRIPTIONS FOR CONTROLLED SUBSTANCES IN ONE MONTH THAN ENTIRE HOSPITALS WERE WRITING TO OPIOID ADDICTS, THESE PRESCRIPTIONS ESCALATE THEIR DEPENDENCE ON DRUGS

THEY ARE A DEATH SENTENCE PLAIN AND SIMPLE THE FBI'S ROLE IN FIGHTING HEALTH CARE FRAUD CONTINUES TO BE A PRIORITY FOR US FBI SPECIAL AGENTS AND ANALYSTS WORK THESE CASES IN ALL 56 OF OUR FIELD OFFICES, AND AS I SAID EARLIER, 29 OF OUR FBI FIELD OFFICES TOOK PART IN THIS WEEK'S NATIONAL HEALTHCARE TAKEDOWN AND THAT INCLUDES THE EFFORTS OF ABOUT 370 FBI PERSONNEL WHO WORKED ON THAT TEAM OF OVER 1000 LAW-ENFORCEMENT FOLKS THAT YOU’VE HEARD REFERRED TO THIS MORNING WE KNOW THAT WE NEED TO BE PROACTIVE IN STOPPING OPIOID ABUSE

AND THAT IS WHY OUR HEALTH CARE FRAUD UNIT HAS STARTED THE PRESCRIPTION DRUG INITIATIVE THE OBJECTIVE OF THE PDI IS TO PURSUE MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS WHO OVERPRESCRIBE OPIOIDS AS WELL AS THOSE WHO SEEK TO PROFIT FROM THE DIVERSION OF PRESCRIPTION NARCOTICS WE IN LAW ENFORCEMENT KNOW THAT WE CANNOT TACKLE THIS PROBLEM ALONE WE HAVE GOT TO WORK WITH OUR PUBLIC HEALTH TREATMENT PROFESSIONALS AND EDUCATORS TO INCREASE PUBLIC AWARENESS ABOUT THE PERILS OF OPIOID ADDICTION THIS YEAR'S NATIONAL HEALTHCARE FRAUD TAKEDOWN REMOVES DOZENS OF CORRUPT MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS FROM SERVING THE PUBLIC

WE HOPE THAT THESE ARRESTS WILL DETER OTHER DOCTORS AND NURSES AND PHARMACISTS FROM THE LURE OF EASY MONEY AT THE EXPENSE OF THE MOST VULNERABLE AS WE ALL KNOW, WHEN PROVIDERS STEAL FROM GOVERNMENT HEALTH CARE PROGRAMS, THEY DECREASE THE RESOURCES AVAILABLE TO THOSE PROGRAMS AND TO THE TAXPAYERS THEY WERE MEANT TO SERVE AND THAT HURTS US ALL NOW, I WOULD LIKE TO TURN THINGS OVER TO ACTING DEA ADMINISTRATOR CHUCK ROSENBERG MR DEA ACTING ADMINISTRATOR ROSENBERG: GOOD MORNING, EVERYONE

THANKS FOR COMING MY GENUINE THANKS TO THOSE WHO INVESTIGATE AND PROSECUTE THESE CASES: THE AGENTS, THE TASK FORCE OFFICERS, DIVERSION INVESTIGATORS, ANALYSTS AT THE DEA, AND OUR PARTNERS HERE AND AROUND THE COUNTRY, PROSECUTORS AND AGENTS WHO ARE DOING REALLY HARD WORK MAKING ALL OF THIS POSSIBLE COORDINATION AND COOPERATION ARE THE HALLMARK OF EFFECTIVE LAW ENFORCEMENT SO I APPRECIATE THE JOINT EFFORTS HERE DEA IS BOTH A LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCY AS I THINK YOU KNOW AND ALSO A REGULATORY AGENCY AS YOU MAY NOT KNOW

SOME FOLKS DON'T KNOW THAT WE REGULATE 17 MILLION INDIVIDUALS AND BUSINESSES, ALL OF WHOM ARE REGISTERED WITH THE DEA THESE REGISTRANTS REPRESENT THE ENTIRE DRUG SUPPLY CHAIN, SO MANUFACTURERS, DISTRIBUTORS, DOCTORS, PHARMACIES, PHARMACISTS, AMONG OTHERS NOW THE VAST MAJORITY OF THESE PROFESSIONALS ARE GOOD FOLKS IN FACT, THE VAST MAJORITIES OF THESE PROFESSIONALS ARE ALLIES

THEY HELP US HOWEVER, THE FEW WHO DON’T AND WHO AREN’T, HAVE AN OUTSIZED IMPACT ON PUBLIC HEALTH AND SAFETY PRESCRIPTION AND OVER-THE-COUNTER DRUGS ARE AMONG THE MOST COMMONLY ABUSED SUBSTANCES BY ANY AMERICANS AGED 14 AND OVER AND AMONG PRESCRIPTION MEDICATIONS, HYDROCODONE: NUMBER ONE, AND OXYCODONE: NUMBER TWO, BOTH OF WHICH ARE VERY POWERFUL OPIOIDS, LEAD THE WAY USED AND MONITORED PROPERLY, THESE DRUGS CAN BRING GREAT RELIEF TO PEOPLE WITH SEVERE PAIN

USED IMPROPERLY, THEY ARE EXTRAORDINARILY DANGEROUS WE ALSO KNOW THAT THERE IS A CAUSATIVE AND CORRELATIVE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN ADDITION TO PERCEPTION PILLS AND ADDICTION TO HEROINE THERE’S TWO REALLY DAUNTING NUMBERS FOUR OUT OF FIVE NEW HEROIN USERS START ON PRESCRIPTION PILLS AND IN THE UNITED STATES, WE HAVE 600 NEW HEROIN USERS EACH DAY, WHICH IS REMARKABLE

SO WE NEED TO CHANGE THE CULTURE IN THE UNITED STATES WE HAVE TO DRAMATICALLY REDUCE THE DEMAND FOR PRESCRIPTION PILLS AND THE OTHER DANGEROUS DRUGS SUCH AS HEROIN TO WHICH THEY LEAD CHANGING THE CULTURE IS HARD IT CAN BE DONE BECAUSE IF WE DO IT, IF WE CHANGE THE CULTURE, WE’RE GOING TO SAVE LIVES

BUT WE ALSO NEED TO PROSECUTE THOSE THAT DISREGARD THE LAW THEIR RECKLESSNESS AND THEIR GREED PUTS AMERICANS AT SIGNIFICANT RISK OF ADDICTION AND DEATH NOW LAST YEAR, HERE’S ANOTHER REMARKABLE NUMBER: AN ESTIMATED 59,000 PEOPLE DIED FROM A DRUG OVERDOSE NOW SOMETIMES BIG NUMBERS WASH OVER US SO I WANT TO GIVE YOU ANOTHER WAY TO THINK ABOUT THAT BIG NUMBER IF YOU RECALL ABOUT A YEAR AGO, AND I’M SURE YOU DO, 49 INNOCENT PEOPLE WERE MURDERED AT THE PULSE NIGHTCLUB BY A MADMAN

NOW IMAGINE THAT HAPPENING THREE TIMES A DAY ONCE IN THE MORNING, ONCE IN THE AFTERNOON, AND ONCE IN THE EVENING THEN IMAGINE THAT HAPPENING 365 DAYS IN A ROW AND EVEN THAT NUMBER, AND I HAVE DONE THE MATH FOR YOU SO YOU DON'T HAVE TO, DOES NOT COME OUT TO 59,000 PEOPLE A YEAR NOW OF COURSE, THAT IS FOR ALL DRUGS, BUT OPIOIDS PLAY AN ENORMOUS ROLE IN THAT TOTAL NUMBER

FATAL OVERDOSES LINKED TO THE MISUSE OF PRESCRIPTION DRUGS AND OTHER DRUGS TO WHICH THEY INEVITABLY LEAD IS REALLY TRULY AN EPIDEMIC I KNOW WE OVERUSE CERTAIN WORDS IN OUR LEXICON LIKE UNPRECEDENTED AND HISTORIC AND UNIQUE THIS IS AN EPIDEMIC WITH GREAT PRIVILEGE AND WITH GREAT AUTHORITY COMES WITH GREAT RESPONSIBILITY TO HANDLE AND PRESCRIBE CONTROLLED DRUGS LAWFULLY, CAREFULLY, AND THOUGHTFULLY WHERE AND WHEN PRACTITIONERS FAIL AND FALL IN THAT RESPONSIBILITY, WE ARE GOING TO HOLD THEM ACCOUNTABLE

THANKS FOR YOUR TIME LET ME TURN IT BACK OVER TO GENERAL SESSIONS ATTORNEY GENERAL SESSIONS: OK, WE WILL HAVE SOME QUESTIONS >> CAN YOU TELL US, EXPLAIN HOW THIS LARGEST EVER HEALTH CARE FRAUD CASE BEGAN IN PLACES LIKE MICHIGAN AND FLORIDA? HOW DID YOUR INVESTIGATORS FIND OUT ABOUT IT? HOW DO THEY INVESTIGATE IT? WITH TIPS? CAN YOU GIVE US SOME SENSE OF THAT? MR ATTORNEY GENERAL SESSIONS: YES

FIRST I WOULD AND MAYBE SOME OF OUR EXPERTS WHO ACTUALLY STARTED THOSE INVESTIGATIONS CAN TELL YOU, BUT INSPECTOR GENERALS OF HHS WORK ON THOSE CASES WE GET TIPS FROM PEOPLE IN THE COMMUNITY WE ARE NOW RUNNING VERY SOPHISTICATED COMPUTER PROGRAMS THAT IDENTIFIED OUTLIERS, REALLY BAD OUTLIERS THEY JUMP RIGHT OUT AT YOU LIKE, HOW CAN THIS POSSIBLY — HOW CAN A PHYSICIAN OR PHARMACY MOVE THESE MANY PILLS? AND SO, THAT IS THE KIND OF THING THAT LEADS US TO THESE INVESTIGATIONS

THEN YOU'VE GOT 94 US ATTORNEYS’ OFFICES, YOU’VE GOT 56 FBI RESIDENT AGENCIES, DEA IS ALL OVER THE COUNTRY, SO WORKING WITH THE TEAM AT HHS AND LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES, THESE CASES ARE MOVING FORWARD WE THINK, AND ACTUALLY ARE COMMITTED TO, GETTING EVEN BETTER AT THIS WE BELIEVE THERE ARE A LOT MORE CASES THAT NEED TO BE BROUGHT

WE WANT TO SEND A MESSAGE TO THOSE WHO ARE VIOLATING THE LAW THAT WE ARE COMING AFTER YOU WE WOULD LIKE TO SEE, AS CHUCK ROSENBERG AT DEA, INDICATED, A REDUCTION IN THE PRESCRIPTION OF OPIOIDS BY OUR MEDICAL COMMUNITY I BELIEVE THOSE NUMBERS ARE WAY TOO HIGH THE UNITED STATES IS BY FAR THE HIGHEST PRESCRIBING OPIOID NATION IN THE WORLD NO NATION IS CLOSE TO IT

I THINK THAT IS A CAUSE OF ADDICTION DEA HAS INDICATED AND DATA SHOWS THAT 80% OF HEROIN ADDICTS, THEY BELIEVE STARTED WITH OPIOID PRESCRIPTION DRUGSSO IT IS A BIG ISSUE FOR US >> THANK YOU MR ATTORNEY GENERAL

TWO QUESTIONS, ONE ON-TOPIC, ONE OFF-TOPIC A LOT OF OPIOID ADDICTION ADVOCATES SAY THEY ARE DISAPPOINTED WITH THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION SO FAR A LOT OF PEOPLE VOTED FOR PRESIDENT TRUMP BECAUSE HE PROMISED TO REDUCE THE EPIDEMIC AND UP TREATMENT, BUT SO FAR THEY TELL ME WHAT THEY HAVE SEEN ARE PROPOSED CUTS TO TREATMENT, A COMMISSION HEADED BY GOVERNOR CHRIS CHRISTIE, WHICH MANY PEOPLE SAY IS UNNECESSARY AND WILL TAKE TOO LONG, AND THEN LASTLY MANY PEOPLE TAKE ISSUE WITH YOU AND YOUR HARDLINE STANCE WITH SENTENCING AND WORRY THAT TOO MANY PEOPLE WILL WIND UP IN PRISON AND NOT TREATMENT CAN YOU ARTICULATE, I THINK YOU STARTED WITH THE OTHER QUESTION WHAT IS THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION’S STRATEGY IN COMBATING THE OPIOID EPIDEMIC? ATTORNEY GENERAL SESSIONS: WE HAVE GOT TO WORK TOGETHER, AND MAYBE SOME OF THESE OTHERS WOULD LIKE TO CONTRIBUTE, TO CONFRONT THIS RISING DRUG USE

CRIME IS RISING WITH IT WE HAVE SEEN OPIOID AND OTHER DRUG DEATHS AT THE RATE WE HAVE NEVER EVER SEEN BEFORE THERE ARE THREE WAYS TO DEAL WITH THE DRUG RISING EPIDEMIC ONE IS PREVENTION, WHICH I BELIEVE WILL WORK HISTORY SHOWED IT WORKED IN THE 1980'S AND THE 1990'S

WE NEED TO HAVE A REINFORCED MESSAGE TO STAY AWAY FROM THESE DRUGS, MINIMIZE YOUR EXPOSURE TO THEM DON'T GET STARTED, AND YOU WON'T GET ADDICTED IN 1980, OVER 50% OF HIGH SCHOOL SENIORS IN AMERICA ACKNOWLEDGED USING AN ILLEGAL DRUG ABOUT 15 YEARS LATER, THAT HAVE BEEN CUT TO LESS THAN HALF THAT NUMBER THAT IS THE FIRST THING, GET FEWER PEOPLE MOVING INTO IT

LAW ENFORCEMENT DOES IN FACT HAVE A CRITICAL ROLE TO PLAY IN THIS WE SIMPLY AS PART OF PREVENTION, PART OF STOPPING THE DISTRIBUTION NETWORKS OUT THERE, AND IT PLAYED A BIG PART IN THE REDUCTION OF DRUG USE, TOO, IN THE 1980'S AND 1990'S I THINK THE THIRD THING IS TREATMENT WE TRY TO DO ALL WE CAN ON THE TREATMENT AGENDA, BUT IT IS NOT A CURE-ALL MANY PEOPLE GO IN AND OUT OF TREATMENT

THEY ARE NOT SUCCESSFUL OFTEN, THEIR LIVES ARE ENDED BY THIS ADDICTION THEY NEVER OVERCOME THE ADDICTION SO PREVENTING ADDICTION, PREVENTING ADDICTION IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING THAT WE CAN DO WE CAN HELP PEOPLE WHO ARE ADDICTED, BUT IT IS STILL A ROUGH ROAD

>> WHAT YOU'RE COMBATING IN THE 1980'S WAS VERY DIFFERENT THAN WHAT YOU FACE TODAY ARE YOU SAYING YOU BELIEVE THE SAME STRATEGIES USED TO COMBAT STREET DRUGS CAN BE USED TO COMBAT THE PRESCRIPTION OPIOID EPIDEMIC? ATTORNEY GENERAL SESSIONS: WELL, ESSENTIALLY, THE THREE PRINCIPLES I JUST ANNOUNCED, THE WAY YOU FIGHT BACK AGAINST DRUG ADDICTION, I DO BELIEVE THAT PRESCRIPTION PROBLEM IS DIFFERENT WE WILL STEP UP OUR EFFORTS ON THAT WE HAVE NEVER SEEN THIS KIND OF DEATHS FROM PRESCRIPTION DRUGS INCLUDING HEROIN AND FENTANYL THE DEATH RATE IS MUCH HIGHER THAN IT WAS THE ‘80'S

AND THE PURITY OF DRUGS IS MUCH HIGHER EVEN MARIJUANA IS MORE POTENT HEROIN IS UP TO 80% OFTEN I AM TOLD OR I REMEMBER IT WAS 20% OR 15% ON THE STREET DRUGS IN THE 1980'S THIS IS AN EXTRAORDINARY THING

YOU THROW FENTANYL IN IT, AND YOU GET DEATH MR SECRETARY PRICE: LET ME MAKE THIS REALLY CLEAR, THE PRESIDENT IS ABSOLUTELY COMMITTED TO ENDING THIS CRISIS A COUPLE OF YEARS AGO, THE AMOUNT OF MONEY THAT THE ADMINISTRATION PUT INTO FIGHTING THE OPIOID CRISIS WAS ABOUT $250 MILLION FY17: $811 MILLION, SO THE AMOUNT OF MONEY IS INCREASING SIGNIFICANTLY

THE PRESIDENT IS ABSOLUTELY COMMITTED TO MAKING CERTAIN THAT WE STAND THAT TIME THE COMMISSION IS JUST ONE PORTION OF THE STRATEGY AND THE COMMISSION WAS PUT TOGETHER TO COME BACK IN ONE YEAR, TWO YEARS, FOUR YEARS AND MAKE SOME RECOMMENDATIONS THE COMMISSION IS CHARGED WITH COMING FORWARD WITH RECOMMENDATIONS THIS FALL AND THEY ARE ON TRACK TO BE ABLE TO DO SO

AT HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, WE HAVE DEVELOPED A FIVE-POINT STRATEGY TO ADDRESS THE OPIOID CRISIS, WHICH INVOLVES, AS THE ATTORNEY GENERAL SAID: PREVENTION, TREATMENT, AND RECOVERY IN ADDITION TO THAT, MAKING CERTAIN THAT OVERDOSE REVERSING DRUGS, NALOXONE AND NARCAN ARE AVAILABLE WHEREVER AND WHENEVER THEY MIGHT BE NEEDED IN EVERY TOWN AND CITY ACROSS THIS COUNTRY THIRD IS TO IDENTIFY FROM A PUBLIC HEALTH STANDPOINT WHY WE ARE SEEING THIS SIGNIFICANT INCREASE JUST 10 YEARS AGO, THE DEATHS FROM OVERDOSES WERE 10% OF WHAT THEY ARE RIGHT NOW AS WAS MENTIONED, IN 2015, APPROACHING 60,000, AND THE NUMBERS FOR 2017 ARE NO BETTER

SO THERE HAS TO BE AN ANSWER TO THE WHY WHY IS IT THAT INDIVIDUALS ARE BECOMING ADDICTED TO A GREATER DEGREE? WHY IS IT THAT THEY HAVE LOST HOPE? WHAT IS GOING ON IN OUR SOCIETY? FOURTH IS THE WHOLE AREA OF EXCITING SCIENTIFIC DISCOVERIES THAT WE’RE ON THE CUSP OF BEING ABLE TO SEE ACCOMPLISHED PAIN MEDICATION THAT IS NON-EUPHORIC SO THAT THERE’S NO DRUG-SEEKING BEHAVIOR ONCE AN INDIVIDUAL IS GIVEN APPROPRIATELY A PRESCRIPTION FOR PAIN MEDICATION THERE’S THE POSSIBILITY OF HAVING A VACCINE FOR ADDICTION THAT IS AN EXCITING AND POSSIBLE PROSPECT THAT NIH IS WORKING ON I AM HAPPY TO GO FURTHER

THE FIFTH ONE IS HOW WE MANAGE PAIN IN THIS NATION, AND WE HAVE MANAGED IT DIFFERENTLY AND MANY WOULD SUGGEST THAT PART OF THE REASON WE ARE HAVING ONE OF THE CHALLENGES WE ARE HAVING IS BECAUSE THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT STEPPED IN ABOUT 20 YEARS AGO AND SAID PAIN IS A FIFTH VITAL SIGN AND THAT PHYSICIANS AND OTHER PROVIDERS WERE INCENTIVIZED TO PRESCRIBE OPIOID NARCOTICS, AND THAT BEGAN A SIGNIFICANT CURVE UPWARD OR IT CORRELATES WITH THE SIGNIFICANT CURVE UPWARD WE ARE WORKING WITH THE VA ADMINISTRATION BECAUSE THAT IS WHERE THAT BEGAN TO TRY TO TURN BACK THAT TIDE SO WE CAN NOT HAVE MORE OVERDOSES IN THIS NATION BUT HAVE LESS THIS ADMINISTRATION IS ABSOLUTELY COMMITTED TO TURNING IT AROUND

>> MR ROSENBERG, MAY I ASK YOU A QUESTION BECAUSE A LOT OF THIS INVOLVES MEDICARE FRAUD THAT WOULD MEAN OVERDOSING, OVERPRESCRIBING TO SENIORS IN WHAT WAY ARE THEY ESPECIALLY VULNERABLE TO OVERDOSES OF OPIOIDS? >> YOU HAVE ALL OF THESE SMART PEOPLE UP HERE, AND YOU PICK ON ME? WELL, I THINK SENIORS HAVE TO BE PARTICULARLY CAREFUL FOR A COUPLE OF REASONS FIRST, AS YOU GET OLDER, YOU TAKE MORE AND MORE DRUGS, PRESCRIPTION MEDICATIONS, SO THERE ARE MORE DANGERS OF DRUG INTERACTION

SO, SENIORS MIGHT BE MORE SUSCEPTIBLE TO FALLS OR DISORIENTATION, DIZZINESS, AND OPIOIDS CAN EXACERBATE THAT SECOND, SENIORS MIGHT NOT BE OPIOID TOLERANT IN FACT, DIFFERENT PEOPLE HAVE DIFFERENT PHYSIOLOGICAL REACTIONS TO THIS STUFF AND SO IF YOU ARE NOT OPIOID TOLERANT BUT YOU ARE A SENIOR CITIZEN, THE EFFECT CAN BE EVEN GREATER THIRD, YOU DID NOT QUITE ASK THIS BUT I AM GOING TO ANSWER IT ANYWAY

SENIORS, BECAUSE THEY TEND TO HAVE LOTS OF PRESCRIPTION DRUGS, THEY HAVE A LOT OF PRESCRIPTION DRUGS IN THEIR MEDICINE CABINETS, SO ONE WAY THAT EVERYONE CAN HELP INCLUDING SENIORS IS TO THINK ABOUT OUR NATIONAL DRUG TAKE BACK DAYS CAN I MAKE A PITCH FOR THAT REAL QUICK? TWICE A YEAR, THE DEA DOES A NATIONAL DRUG TAKE BACK ANONYMOUSLY, WE TAKE YOUR STUFF, WE DO NOT READ THE LABELS, AND WE INCINERATE IT HERE’S A REMARKABLE NUMBER PETE, IN APRIL WHEN WE DID OUR LAST ONE, WE TOOK IN 900,000 POUNDS OF DRUGS FROM MEDICINE CABINETS AROUND THE COUNTRY WE PARTNERED WITH 4200 LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES

WE WERE IN 5500 SITES IN THE UNITED STATES WE ARE GOING TO DO THIS AGAIN AT THE END OF OCTOBER AND SO SENIORS ALSO PLAY A BIG ROLE IN THAT SO THEY ARE MORE SUSCEPTIBLE THERE IS MORE DRUG INTERACTION

THEY HAVE MORE STUFF IN THE MEDICINE CABINETS BECAUSE FOUR OUT OF FIVE NEW HEROIN USERS STARTED ON PRESCRIPTION PILLS, I SHOULD ALSO ADD THAT MOST OF THOSE WHO STARTED ON PRESCRIPTION PILLS GOT IT FROM SOMEONE WHO GOT IT LEGITIMATELYTHAT IS WHY YOU NEED TO CLEAN OUT THOSE MEDICINE CABINETS >> QUESTION FOR GENERAL SESSIONS AND THE ADMINISTRATOR AND ANYONE ELSE WHO WOULD LIKE TO JUMP IN THE NUMBER THAT YOU MENTIONED, 59,000 PEOPLE DYING IN 2016, THE OVERWHELMING MAJORITY INVOLVING OPIOID ADDICTION, A CASE THAT STILL HAUNTS ME, I THINK IT WAS IN PENNSYLVANIA

BOTH PARENTS OD-ING THE INFANT DYING AS A RESULT OF THE PARENTS BEING DOWNSTAIRS DEAD AND NO ONE THERE TO TAKE CARE OF THE INFANT WHAT IS IT GOING TO TAKE? OBVIOUSLY SOMETHING IS NOT WORKING FOR THE COUNTRY TO UNDERSTAND THE LEVEL OF THIS PROBLEM AND THE NATURE OF THE PROBLEM WHAT DO YOU THINK THAT SHOULD BE? ATTORNEY GENERAL SESSIONS: I WILL JUST SAY I THINK YOU ARE CORRECT THAT IT HAS NOT DAWNED ON US, THE ENORMITY OF THE DEATHS WE ARE SEEING FROM ILLEGAL DRUG USE 52,000 LAST YEAR AROUND 50,000

WE PROJECT AROUND 60,000 THIS YEAR IT IS STILL GOING UP DRAMATICALLY IN NEW HAMPSHIRE A FEW MONTHS AGO, I WAS THERE WITH A LARGE CROWD OF HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS 50 MOTHERS STOOD BEFORE THOSE KIDS WHO LOST A CHILD TO DRUG OVERDOSE THIS IS VERY REAL

IT IS A MUCH MORE DEATH DEALING CRISIS THAN WE HAD WITH DRUGS EVEN IN THE 1980'S SO I THINK IT IS IMPORTANT TOM, LET ME ASK YOU TO COMMENT MR SECRETARY PRICE: AS I MENTIONED, THE ADMINISTRATION IS ABSOLUTELY COMMITTED TO STEMMING THIS TIDE I HAVE BEEN GOING AROUND THE COUNTRY TO COMMUNITIES LARGE AND SMALL WITH KELLYANNE CONWAY TO TALK WITH LAW ENFORCEMENT, TO TALK WITH HEALTHCARE PROVIDERS, TO TALK WITH FAITH-BASED FOLKS, TO TALK WITH RECOVERING ADDICTS TO RECOVERED ADDICTS, PARENTS OF FOLKS WHO HAVE DIED

AND I WAS STRUCK BY SOMETHING THAT A RECOVERED ADDICT TO A RECOVERING ADDICT SAID IN MAINE THAT IS IF YOU’VE SEEN ONE ADDICT, YOU’VE SEEN ONE ADDICT SO THE CHALLENGE THAT WE HAVE IS THAT THE LOCAL COMMUNITIES WHERE PEOPLE LOVE THEIR NEIGHBORS AND WANT TO CARE FOR THE NEIGHBORS IS THE KEY TO SOLVING THIS CHALLENGE ONE OF THE BIGGEST PROBLEMS THAT WE'VE GOT IS SOMEBODY HAS OVERDOSED AND IT HAS BEEN REVERSED AND HAVING THE HANDOFF OF THAT PERSON TO A RECOVERY CENTER OFTEN TIMES AROUND THE COUNTRY RIGHT NOW, SADLY, THAT REVERSAL OCCURS, AND THAT INDIVIDUAL IS NOT HANDED OFF TO A RECOVERY CENTER FOR A VARIETY OF REASONS I TALKED TO ONE FIREHOUSE IN WEST VIRGINIA THAT HAS AN OPEN-DOOR POLICY FOR FOLKS WHO ARE OVERDOSING

THEY COME IN AND REVERSE THEM ONE FIREMAN REVERSED THE SAME YOUNG LADY THREE TIMES IN ONE DAY THAT IS A SYSTEM FAILING THAT INDIVIDUAL WHEN THEY CANNOT TAKE THAT PERSON AND GET THEM TO MOVE TOWARD RECOVERY SO WE ARE WORKING WITH THE LOCAL COMMUNITIES WE WERE IN CHATTANOOGA LAST WEEK THAT IS DOING INCREDIBLE THINGS AND BEGINNING TO SEE A TURNING OF THE CURVE OF INCREASING NOT JUST ADDICTION, BUT OVERDOSE DEATHS

IT IS DIFFERENT FOR EVERY SINGLE PERSON, BUT WHAT THAT MEANS IS WE HAVE TO BE AS ATTENTIVE AS WE CAN BE TO ALL OF THE STRATEGY ELEMENTS THAT I OUTLINED EARLIER AND THIS ADMINISTRATION IS COMMITTED TO DOING JUST THAT >> THANK YOU

Source: Youtube


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