One of the ways the government is trying to respond to the urgent national opioid epidemic is by sending the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) after practitioners suspected of overprescribing opioids to patients. While there are many doctors who have rightfully been investigated and held responsible for overprescribing opioids, others have gotten caught in the cogs of a machine that is desperately trying to prove that it is doing something – whether that something is actually helpful or not.
Even if you are certain you are not guilty of overprescribing opioids to your patients, it is essential to take an investigation by the DEA seriously. If the Illinois medical board is concurrently conducting a separate investigation, the DEA’s findings may influence that investigation. While you may not have violated any laws regarding opioid prescriptions, the board may be interested in other potential violations, in distancing itself from you for other reasons, or in responding to a complaint that is a result of a personal vendetta. No matter the reason, you need to take an investigation seriously and have a professional license defense attorney’s help.
What Should I Do if I Am Being Investigated by the DEA?
First, of course, you should hire an attorney who can guide you throughout the investigation. Do not speak with investigators, your employer, or anyone else about the investigation until you have first spoken with an attorney who can advise you on what to say. Even speaking with a close colleague or spouse could be risky, as that person could be subpoenaed and asked questions about your conversations.
It is important to note that the DEA usually needs an inspection notice or administrative warrant to investigate the premises of your workplace. Even if they have a Form 82, or Notice of Inspection, you have to sign the form to consent to a premises inspection. You can refuse to consent to this form, and if you do, the DEA will need to come back with an administrative warrant. DEA agents may also try to intimidate you into giving up your controlled substance registration voluntarily, which could affect your ability to practice medicine. Do not give up your controlled substance registration.
Do Not Rely on Your Employer’s Legal Defense
If the DEA is investigating you or the practice in which you work, you may have been offered legal defense by your employer’s attorneys. Do not rely on them for help; their job is to protect your employer and they will do so, even if it means throwing you under the bus in an effort to save the practice. If your employer faces any liability for your conduct, hire your own defense lawyer.
Contact an Illinois DEA Investigation Defense Lawyer
If you are being investigated by the DEA, it is essential to have an Illinois medical license defense attorney helping you defend yourself in medical board hearings and any potential criminal charges. Get started today by calling The Law Offices of Joseph J. Bogdan, LLC at 630-310-1267 and scheduling a free consultation.