Following the announcement of a multi-state operation that federal officials consider to be the largest opioid takedown in U.S. history, the leader of a Miami Valley recovery organization says he believes the case marks a positive step forward in the fight to end the opioid crisis.
According to Assistant U.S. Attorney General Brian Benczkowski, 60 people have been charged in connection to the drug bust, including a Dayton doctor who allegedly ran a “pill mill” out of his former First Street office.
“It’s appalling that a physician would prescribe, over-prescribe opioids to people, knowing the addictive nature,” said Kevin Hoffman, who works with recovering drug and alcohol addicts through his organization Three Oaks Center, Inc., which serves Montgomery and Greene counties.
Hoffman said he believes pill mill busts send a message to those improperly prescribing opiates.
“People who violate the law should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” Hoffman said. “Because they’re not just breaking the law, they’re damaging and ruining individuals and couples and families, their lives.”
Benczkowski called the charges announced Wednesday a “milestone” in the nation’s fight against the opioid crisis.
“Let me be clear: If so-called medical professionals behave like drug dealers, the Department of Justice is going to treat them like drug dealers,” Benczkowski said.
Hoffman, who works with Montgomery County’s Community Overdose Action Team, said he believes prevention and education need to continue to be part of the solution, in addition to enforcement efforts.
He also wants to see doctors use alternatives to opiates to treat chronic pain, he added.
“I think the message for people who are struggling with opiate addiction or any kind of substance abuse problem is to reach out and get help,” Hoffman said. “There’s all kinds of help.”
The DEA’s National Prescription Drug Take Back Day is set for April 27. To find a collection site near you, click here.