DEA is committed to making sure patients can get the care they need in the event a doctor or medical facility is unable to provide treatment due to enforcement action against the medical provider.
On October 5, 2023, DEA arrested a nurse practitioner in Buffalo, New York, on charges of conspiracy to distribute oxymorphone. The medial provider is accused of over-prescribing oxymorphone to select patients who then sold a portion of those pills for a profit, with the expectation they would share that profit.
At the time of the arrest, the medical practitioner surrendered his registration and consequently is unable to prescribe and dispense controlled substances. This potentially left some patients without a medical provider.
When this occurs, DEA notifies the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Opioid Rapid Response Program (ORRP) as part of an interagency, federal effort to help mitigate overdose risks among patients who lose access to a prescriber of opioids, medications for opioid use disorder, or other controlled substances.
Patients taking a medication that causes dependency, including, but not limited to, opioids, benzodiazepines, and stimulants cannot abruptly stop taking the medication or they may experience painful withdrawal symptoms.
The program works with state and local health departments to prepare for and respond to disruptions in patient care. Notifications may also be made to local emergency departments and hospitals. Resources vary by state and locality, so the response will differ.