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Some 60 doctors, pharmacists and other licensed medical professionals in five states are being charged in connection with illegally prescribing more than 32 million pain pills, in some cases for sexual favors, federal prosecutors said Wednesday.

The people charged across 11 federal districts, include 31 doctors, seven pharmacists, eight nurse practitioners, and seven other licensed medical professionals, the Justice Department said. The cases involve more than 350,000 prescriptions for controlled substances across Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, and West Virginia. The arrests were the latest effort to combat the nationwide opioid epidemic.

In one case filed in Tennessee, a nurse practitioner who branded himself the “Rock Doc,” allegedly prescribed powerful and dangerous combinations of opioids and benzodiazepines, sometimes in exchange for sexual favors; over approximately three years, the doctor allegedly prescribed approximately 500,000 hydrocodone pills, 300,000 oxycodone pills, 1,500 fentanyl patches, and more than 600,000 benzodiazepine pills.

In another case in Ohio, a doctor who is alleged to have been at one time the highest prescriber of controlled substances in the state, and several pharmacists are charged with operating an alleged “pill mill” in Dayton, Ohio. According to the indictment, between October 2015 and October 2017 alone, the pharmacy allegedly dispensed over 1.75 million pills.

A Kentucky dentist was charged for alleged conduct that included writing prescriptions for opioids that had no legitimate medical purpose and that were outside the usual course of professional practice, removing teeth unnecessarily, scheduling unnecessary follow-up appointments, and billing inappropriately for services.

In yet another case, a doctor was charged for allegedly prescribing opioids to Facebook friends who would come to his home to pick up prescriptions, and for signing prescriptions for other persons based on messenger requests to his office manager, who then allegedly delivered the signed prescriptions in exchange for cash.

In addition Attorney General Barr and U.S. Attorney Thomas T. Cullen announced that the Appalachian Regional Prescription Opioid (ARPO) Strike Force will expand into the Western District of Virginia, making it the tenth ARPO Strike Force district.

ARPO is a joint law enforcement effort that brings together the resources and expertise of the Health Care Fraud Unit in the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section (HCF Unit), the U.S. Attorney’s Offices for ten federal districts in six states, as well as law enforcement partners at the FBI, HHS Office of the Inspector General (HHS-OIG) and U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

In addition, HHS announced that since June 2018, it has excluded over 2,000 individuals from participation in Medicare, Medicaid and all other Federal health care programs, which includes more than 650 providers excluded for conduct related to opioid diversion and abuse.

Since July 2017, DEA has issued 31 immediate suspension orders, 129 orders to show cause, and received 1,386 surrenders for cause nationwide for violations of the Controlled Substances Act.