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Drug company executive charged in legal first

Federal prosecutors have just taken a step that many analysts believe is a legal "first." They've charged the former chief executive officer (CEO) of a drug company with crimes associated with the distribution of opioids nationwide.

America has been suffering from a drug crisis that has been heavily linked to the mass overprescription of opioid painkillers in past decades. In a nutshell, authorities believe that certain drug manufacturers, particularly those that produced oxycontin and similar opiates, totally misled physicians and consumers about the safety of their product. That lead doctors to write prescriptions with a relaxed hand and patients to consume drugs that they believed weren't easily addictive.

In 2017 alone, there were more than 72,000 overdose deaths -- and 49,068 were linked to opioids. Back in 1992, before pharmaceutical companies began heavy marketing campaigns that assured people of the safety of their product, doctors wrote 112 million prescriptions for painkillers. By 2012, doctors were writing 282 million prescriptions.

Over the years, many addicts who were driven to desperation in order to get their "fixes" have gone to prison for drug crimes related to possession or low-level drug trafficking crimes. However, the people who put the majority of the drugs into the market have been exempted from prosecution. That's now changing. The federal government has charged the former chief executive officer (CEO) of Rochester Drug Cooperative (RDC), a primary distributor of opioids in the United States, with an assortment of drug crimes.

Among the charges revealed in the indictment, the former CEO is alleged to have personally ordered his employees to ignore the fact that some customers were prescribing or dispensing far too many prescriptions for any legitimate use -- which means the drugs were being used for recreational purposes.

If this prosecution is successful, it may be a game-changer for drug prosecutions in general. In recent years, prosecutors have been increasingly targeting higher and higher levels in the drug trade in an effort to stop the ongoing crisis.

If you have been charged in connection with a drug crime, it's important to take it seriously. Get an experienced defense attorney on your side.

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