It was announced yesterday that a federal grand jury has charged four people - including two former executives at wholesale drug distributor Miami-Luken - with consipiring to distribute a controlled substance.
Former Miami-Luken president Anthony Rattini and former compliance officer James Barclay were charged, as were West Virginia pharmacists Devonna Miller-West and Samuel Ballengee.
The indictment alleges that "Rattini, Barclay and Miami-Luken sought to enrich themselves by distributing millions of painkillers to doctors and pharmacies in rural Appalachia, where the opioid epidemic was at its peak."
The numbers in the allegations are quite staggering. Among other things, the indictment alleges that over a three-year period, Miami-Luken distributed over 3.7 million hydrocodone pills to a pharmacy in the town of Kermit, West Virginia.
Kermit has a population of approximately 400 people.
They also allegedly sent 2.3 million oxycodone pills - and 2.6 million hydrocodone pills - to the Westside Pharmacy in Oceana, West Virginia, which was run by Devonna Miller-West. Oceana has a population of approximately 1394 people.
If the defendants are found guilty, they could be sentenced to up to 20 years in prison. Miami-Luken closed earlier this year.
Recent studies show that drug overdose is the leading cause of death for Americans under 50. Earlier this year, the National Safety Council said that Americans are more likely to die from an opioid overdose than from a car accident.