The DEA is tasked with ensuring that controlled substances are only distributed for legitimate medical purposes. The agency does this by maintaining a registration system for practitioners who prescribe controlled substances and by conducting investigations of illegal prescribing and distribution of controlled substances.
The DEA also regulates the manufacture of controlled substances. The agency issues licenses to manufacturers and sets quotas for the amount of each controlled substance that can be manufactured in a given year.
The DEA is headquartered in Arlington, Virginia and has field offices located throughout the United States.
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is a federal law enforcement agency that is responsible for enforcing the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). The CSA establishes a system of controls over certain drugs and chemicals that are considered to have a high potential for abuse. The CSA also establishes schedules of controlled substances, which are classified according to their potential for abuse and medical use.
The DEA’s mission is to “enforce the controlled substances laws and regulations of the United States and bring to the criminal and civil justice system of the United States, or any other competent jurisdiction, those organizations and principal members of organizations, involved in the growing, manufacture, or distribution of controlled substances appearing in or destined for illicit traffic in the United States; and to recommend and support non-enforcement programs aimed at reducing the availability of illicit controlled substances on the domestic and international markets.”
The DEA has offices across all 50 states as well as 60 foreign countries. In addition to its investigative duties, it also provides drug awareness information to schools, parents, medical professionals, government officials, employers, etc. The DEA also regulates pharmaceutical companies that manufacture controlled substances.
What Does a DEA Investigation Involve?
When conducting an investigation into possible violations of federal drug laws by pharmacies or other entities involved in prescribing or dispensing drugs containing controlled substances (e.g., opioids), DEA agents will typically conduct interviews with employees at various levels within an organization. They may also review documents related to prescriptions written by physicians employed by an organization as well as records related to prescriptions filled by pharmacists employed by an organization. In addition, they may review financial records related to payments received from patients who were prescribed opioids as well as payments made by pharmaceutical companies that manufacture opioids for marketing purposes. Finally, they may review emails sent between employees at different levels within an organization regarding prescribing or dispensing opioids. Based on their review of these materials, agents will then determine whether there is evidence of criminal activity that warrants further investigation or prosecution. If so, they will refer their findings to federal prosecutors who will decide whether to bring charges against individuals or entities involved in prescribing or dispensing opioids illegally.
What Are the Potential Outcomes of a DEA Investigation?
The potential outcomes of a DEA investigation will depend on the scope of the investigation and how you respond to the DEA’s inquiry. If the investigation is limited in scope and you cooperate with the DEA, it is possible that the investigation will result in no charges being filed against you or your pharmacy. However, if the investigation is more extensive and/or you do not cooperate with the DEA, it is possible that you or your pharmacy could be charged with federal crimes related to prescribing or dispensing opioids illegally. These charges could result in significant fines and/or prison sentences for individuals convicted of these crimes.
How Can I Protect Myself If I Am Under Investigation by the DEA?
If you are under investigation by the DEA, it is important to consult with an experienced federal defense attorney as soon as possible. An attorney can help you understand your rights and options under federal law and can provide guidance on how to best protect yourself during an investigation.
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