Acting Deputy Assistant Director Remarks Announcing the Formation of the New England Prescription Opioid Strike Force
Remarks prepared for delivery.
Good morning. My name is Aaron Tapp, and I am the Acting Deputy Assistant Director of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division.
I am honored to be here this morning to join with our partners from the: Department of Justice, Department of Health and Human Services – Office of Inspector General, and the Drug Enforcement Administration in announcing the formation of and the FBI’s support of the New England Prescription Opioid Strike Force or NEPO. I would venture to guess that there is probably not a single person in this room who has not been personally affected by–or knows someone who has been personally affected by–the opioid epidemic in this country. This issue is personal to me, as members of my own family have been tragically impacted by this epidemic.
You heard the statistics here today. In the last year alone, more than 75,000 people in the United States lost their lives due to opioid overdose. Think about that. That is nearly double the population of the City of Concord.
This crisis does not discriminate, impacting the young and the old, the rich and the impoverished, our sons and daughters, sisters and brothers, our mothers and our fathers.
And it does so with devastating and unrelenting force.
Communities across the country and in this community have felt the impact of that force and experienced the devastating loss of life that so often accompanies it. So, we must match force with even greater force, and strength and momentum which can only be generated through shared commitment and collaboration, like what you are seeing here today.
Our objective is to not only to help those who are already in the throes of addiction, but also to help prevent others from reaching that point.
As Assistant Attorney General Polite stated, the NEPO Strike Force will help to address one of the root causes of the opioid epidemic, the unlawful prescription and diversion of opioids by corrupt medical professionals and others.
The NEPO Strike Force will investigate all health care fraud schemes in the New England region, and will seek to identify medical professionals, including doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and others who are engaging in criminal conduct.
The Strike Force will focus on those medical professionals who place a greater value on profits than they do on the well-being of their patients. Simply put, the NEPO Strike Force will seek to root out medical professionals who profit from the addiction of your families and your neighbors.
We have made much progress nationally, but there is more we have to do. The formation of this task force highlights the FBI’s commitment to do whatever it takes to reduce the impact of the opioid epidemic across the nation.
Thank you to all of the law enforcement agencies, the Department of Justice, and the United States Attorneys from New Hampshire, Maine, and Vermont who are here today for their commitment to working collectively to bring justice to those who are illegally prescribing drugs and profiting off of addiction.
Finally, as this task force effort begins, we need your help. Many of you know which doctors are overprescribing opioids in your community and by doing so, perpetuating the cycle of addiction.
You can make a difference by partnering with us. Please call us at 1-800-CALL-FBI or reach us online at tips.fbi.gov to report prescription opioid diversion in your community.
The FBI stands ready, willing, and able to work with our law enforcement partners on the NEPO Strike Force to protect this community from the destructive effects of health care fraud and prescription opioid diversion.