Justice Department tracks prescription and billing records to find patterns of abuse in opioid epidemic
By Byron Tau and Aruna Viswanatha,
Mon August 26, 2019
When federal investigators got a tip in 2015 that a health center in Houston was distributing millions of doses of opioid painkillers, they tried a new approach: look at the numbers.
State and federal prescription and medical billing data showed a pattern of overprescription, giving authorities enough ammunition to send an undercover Drug Enforcement Administration agent. She found a crowded waiting room and armed security guards. After a 91-second appointment with the sole doctor, the agent paid $270 at the cash-only clinic and walked out with 100 10mg pills of the powerful opioid hydrocodone…
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