If you're a healthcare professional, the last thing you want to receive is a notification that you're under investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). But what triggers a DEA investigation, and what are the consequences if the investigation goes against you?
While you should contact Joseph Lento, an experienced defense attorney, immediately if you're facing DEA issues, here's an overview of what to expect.
What Is a DEA Investigation?
The DEA is the federal agency responsible for monitoring any controlled substance distribution around the US. Healthcare professionals subject to the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), or those who can dispense or prescribe medicine, face DEA scrutiny.
Purposes of DEA Inspections
The DEA looks for unusual behavior patterns which might suggest that someone is dispensing drugs unlawfully. Here are some examples of behavior that may trigger further DEA scrutiny.
- A medical office or pharmacy open at unusual hours.
- Health providers who see many one-time patients.
- A large volume of prescriptions for opioids or for controlled substances at high doses.
Such behavior could suggest illegal practices such as drug theft, drug diversion, or drug trafficking. However, there are also many innocent explanations – don't let a single anomaly ruin your career. Seek legal advice immediately if you're accused of any illegal drug practices.
The DEA Investigation Process
Routine investigations may happen every few years, but inspections based on allegations of suspicious activity can happen at any time. The DEA investigators may ask to see various records such as prescription logs, dispensing logs, your DEA registration, and lists of patients on opioid medications to identify anomalies.
Often, the DEA will ask the practitioner to give “informed consent” to an inspection rather than going to court for a warrant. However, if you are presented with a warrant or you're notified that there's a criminal investigation pending, you should comply but contact an attorney immediately for advice on how to proceed.
During the process, you may be asked to “voluntarily” surrender your DEA registration to avoid criminal charges or a forced license suspension. Consult a professional license defense attorney before surrendering your license.
Consequences of a DEA Investigation
Depending on the findings, your DEA license may be suspended or revoked. Losing your license, even temporarily, can affect your ability to practice medicine or run your healthcare business. You may find it harder to reapply for a license in the future, and in serious cases, you may also face criminal prosecution for drug charges.
Attorney Joseph Lento can evaluate your case and determine which defenses may apply in your case. He will do everything possible to help you preserve your professional reputation and your livelihood.
Professional License Defense Attorney
A DEA investigation could jeopardize the career you've worked so hard to build – don't leave anything to chance. Attorney Joseph Lento will use his experience in handling professional licensing matters to help you achieve the best possible outcome in your case. Call him now at 888.535.3686 or reach out to him online for a consultation.