8 people with Indian connection arrested in the drug distribution case. The outbreak of opioids has become a national crisis, with 47,600 deaths from overdoses in 2017 alone, 6 US states have now declared public health emergencies.
Opioid distribution in the United States has an Indian connection as authorities bust a drug ring. According to the US authorities, the drug distribution ring imported millions of opioid pills from India, 8 people has been arrested with ties to that country.
The eight, all of Indian origin and living in the New York City or sub urban areas, were arrested on September 12, the Justice department said. It did not identify those who allegedly sent the drugs from India.
“The defendants participated in a black market for prescription medications by distributing millions of opioid pills in tens of thousands of transaction in 1 year alone, ” federal prosecutor Richard Donoghue said.
Opioid crisis: Indian connection, arrests and charges
Those arrested and charged with drug distribution were Ezhil Sezhian Kamaldoss, Harpreet Singh, Baljeet Singh, Deepak Manchanda, Gulab Gulab, Mukul Chugh and Vikas M. Verma.
Ezhil Sezhian Kamaldoss alos faces money laundering charges.
Justice Department further stated, distributors in India shipped misbranded Tramadol, a synthetic opioid and other drugs to individuals and entities in the US using the postal system and commercial couriers.
All 8 people arrested operated out of a warehouse in the Queens district of NYC here they repackaged the pills and mailed out millions of pills to customers across the country.
They maintained daily ledgers in their operation. Detailing the names, addresses, pill size and pill amount ordered by customers, as per the department.
When the investigation began?
In January 2018, when the investigation began, they distributed millions of Tramadol pills, the department added.
Mark McCormack, the special agent in charge of the Food and Drug Administration was fueling the national crisis.
The epidemic of opioids has become a national crisis, with 47,600 deaths from overdoses in 2017 alone.
The situation has been worsening every year, in the wake of which 6 US states have now declared public health emergencies to combat the crisis.
“The importation of mislabeled drugs is both dangerous and illegal. It contributes to the ongoing opioid crisis in our nation and causes harm to our communities,” said FBI Special Agent-in-Charge Todd Wickerham.
About Opioid and its consequences
Opioids are substances that act on opioid receptors to produce morphine-like effects. Medically they are primarily used for pain relief, including anesthesia.
Other medical uses include suppression of diarrhea, replacement therapy for opioid use disorder, reversing opioid overdose, suppressing cough, as well as for executions in the United States.
Extremely potent opioids such as carfentanil are only approved for veterinary use. Opioids are also frequently used non-medically for their euphoric effects or to prevent withdrawal.
Side effects of opioids may include itchiness, sedation, nausea, respiratory depression, constipation, and euphoria.
Long-term use can cause tolerance, meaning that increased doses are required to achieve the same effect, and physical dependence, meaning that abruptly discontinuing the drug leads to unpleasant withdrawal symptoms.
The euphoria attracts recreational use and frequent, escalating recreational use of opioids typically results in addiction.
An overdose or concurrent use with other depressant drugs like benzodiazepines commonly results in death from respiratory depression.
In August: Purdue Pharma offered $10 billion to $12 billion to settle opioid lawsuits
Recently, OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma LP and its owners, the Sackler family, were in discussion to settle more than 2,000 opioid lawsuits against the company for $10 billion to $12 billion, as per Reuters report.
Purdue Pharma is among several drug makers and distributors that have been sued for fueling an opioid addiction crisis in the United States, which claimed 400,000 lives from 1999 to 2017, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Most noteworthy, the lawsuits have accused the Stamford, Connecticut-based Purdue Pharma of aggressively marketing prescription opioids while misleading prescribers and consumers about risks from their prolonged use.
However, Purdue and the Sacklers have denied the allegations.
The makers of OxyContin (Purdue) may have tried to hide $1 billion
Attorney general of New York found $1 billion in previously undisclosed wire transfers as Purdue Pharma owners the Sackler family work to reach a settlement.
The allegation could lead to the reexamination of a proposed settlement between drug maker Purdue Pharma and plaintiffs who brought more that 2,000 lawsuits against it.
Moreover, the opioid epidemic can be understood in three waves. In the first wave, starting in the late 1990s and early 2000s, doctors prescribed a lot of opioid painkillers.
That caused the drugs to proliferate to widespread misuse and addiction among not just patients but also friends and family of patients, teens who took the drugs from their parents’ medicine cabinets, and people who bought excess pills from the black market.
A second wave of drug overdoses took off in the 2000s when heroin flooded the illicit market, as drug dealers and traffickers took advantage of a new population of people who used opioids but either lost access to painkillers or simply sought a better, cheaper high.
And in recent years, the US has seen a third wave, as fentanyls offer an even more potent, cheaper and deadlier alternative to heroin.