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Friday, July 12, 2019 9:56 PM

Law 360: How A Doc's FCA Suit Turned Into $1.4B Opioid Deal

Law360 (July 12, 2019, 9:56 PM EDT) -- An addiction specialist looking to take on Reckitt Benckiser's marketing practices for its opioid treatment found a path to victory by filing a whistleblower suit so that the federal government would get involved, culminating in a record breaking $1.4 billion deal...


Friday, July 12, 2019 12:00 AM

Town-Crier: Aronberg, Johnson Receive Awards For Success Of Sober Homes Task Force

Palm Beach County State Attorney Dave Aronberg and Chief Assistant State Attorney Alan Johnson were honored with the 2019 Pillar of Excellence Award for Criminal Justice by the Addiction Policy Forum in Washington, D.C., on June 24...


Thursday, July 11, 2019 3:00 PM

New Data Shows Continued Decreases in Opioid Overdose Patients in Palm Beach County

WEST PALM BEACH, FL – State Attorney Dave Aronberg announced new data that show a 21% decrease in the number of Fire Rescue responses to opioid overdose patients in Palm Beach County in the first 6 months of 2019, compared to the same period last year. The new statistics, which came from Palm Beach County Fire Rescue, show that county firefighters and paramedics made 655 emergency calls for opioid overdoses of 667 individuals in the first 6 months of this year, compared to 821 emergency calls for opioid overdoses of 841 individuals in the first 6 months of 2018...


Thursday, July 11, 2019 12:00 AM

News Service of Florida/WUSF: Drug Deaths In Florida Down In First Half Of 2018

The number of drug-related deaths in Florida, including those caused by opioids, declined in the first six months of 2018, compared to the first half of 2017, according to an interim report released by the state Medical Examiners Commission...


Wednesday, July 3, 2019 12:00 AM

State Attorney Dave Aronberg and Chief Assistant State Attorney Alan Johnson Receive National Awards for Success of Sober Homes Task Force

WASHINGTON, DC -- State Attorney Dave Aronberg and Chief Assistant State Attorney Alan Johnson were honored with the 2019 Pillar of Excellence Award for Criminal Justice by the Addiction Policy Forum (APF) in Washington, DC on June 24, 2019. The organization recognized Aronberg and Johnson for the success of their Sober Homes Task Force, which has helped clean up fraud and abuse in the drug treatment and sober home industries and led to a 40% drop in opioid overdose deaths in Palm Beach County in 2018...


Friday, June 28, 2019 10:03 PM

WPBF: Seven people charged in major opioid bust in South Florida

Pharmacist arrested at Boca Raton Kmart

BOCA RATON, Fla. — Authorities said seven people have been arrested in a major opioid bust in South Florida, including a pharmacist at a Boca Raton store...


Wednesday, June 26, 2019 12:00 AM

STAT: In a nationwide first, New Jersey authorizes paramedics to start addiction treatment at the scene of an overdose

WASHINGTON — In a potential paradigm shift for addiction medicine, New Jersey’s health commissioner this week authorized paramedics to administer the drug buprenorphine to patients almost immediately after reviving them from an opioid overdose...


Friday, June 21, 2019 12:12 PM

Sun Sentinel: She came to South Florida to heal from her drug abuse. Months later she was dead.

Jenna Jacobsen was never afraid to get her hands dirty. She was often by her father’s side while he worked on his motorcycles in the garage of their home in East Islip, New York.

“She was my little shadow,” Chris Jacobsen said. When she wasn’t helping him fix things, she could be found playing soccer with a cluster of neighborhood friends and cousins, riding her bike, or swimming. “She was a happy-go-lucky girl,” Jacobsen said. “A little bit of a tomboy,” he added.

Her innocence soured not long after her father and mother divorced in 2014. Jenna moved in with her mother. At age 16 or 17, she began experimenting with drugs such as heroin and fentanyl with her boyfriend. According to family, she bounced in and out of rehab a handful of times over three years, determined to beat her addiction...


Wednesday, June 19, 2019 9:00 AM

Yahoo Finance: The opioid crisis is hitting one industry particularly hard

As opioid addiction increased exponentially over the last two decades, American construction workers have been among those hit the hardest.

According to a note from Barclays Research, construction workers are nearly six times more likely than other industries to develop an opioid addiction...


Tuesday, June 18, 2019 6:00 AM

USA Today: Schumer & Cotton: Our bipartisan 'Fentanyl Sanctions Act' targets traffickers like China

Synthetic opioids have devastated our home states and many others. We need to work together to end an epidemic that kills tens of thousands a year.

Overdosing from synthetic opioids is one of the fastest-growing causes of death in America, a crisis long in the making but one which in recent years has reached critical levels. In 2017 alone, it’s estimated that opioid overdoses claimed the lives of 48,000 Americans — more than double the number from a decade earlier. Of those deaths, approximately 32,000 involved synthetic opioids like fentanyl...


Friday, June 14, 2019 12:42 PM

Sun Sentinel: Florida now treats drug dealers as killers — and the law is going after them

More drug dealers are facing murder charges for selling the powerful opiod fentanyl to people who wound up overdosing.

Prosecutors contend the dealers not only stuffed their pockets from selling the usually lethal and cheap synthetic pills, but intentionally killed buyers at the same time...


Tuesday, May 28, 2019 6:49 PM

WPBF: Oklahoma opioid trial targeting pharma companies could affect Florida epidemic

It is expected to provide an unprecedented examination of the opioid epidemic and could indicate to what degree drug companies accused of fueling the crisis will be held responsible

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — All eyes are on the nation's first opioid trial targeting pharmaceutical companies that started Tuesday in Norman, Oklahoma.

It is expected to provide an unprecedented examination of the opioid epidemic and could indicate to what degree drug companies accused of fueling the crisis will be held responsible in hundreds of other lawsuits still pending across the country...


Friday, May 24, 2019 10:24 AM

Sun Sentinel: South Florida shares shame and blame with big pharma for OxyContin epidemic | Fred Grimm

David and Joss Sackler, fleeing their niche in New York City high society and the damning taint of the oxy scandal, found a fitting place to light. They’ve moved to South Florida, a community sullied by its own considerable culpability in the overdose deaths of 200,000 Americans...


Sunday, May 19, 2019 12:00 AM

Newsy: Body Brokers Are Undermining Efforts To End The U.S. Addiction Crisis

The rise in addiction and lack of regulation in the treatment industry has created a perfect storm of fraud and abuse...


Thursday, May 16, 2019 8:25 AM

MSNBC - Morning Joe: State Attorney Dave Aronberg & Dr. Dave Campbell interview on the opioid epidemic

Is it fair to blame drug companies for the #OpioidCrisis?


Tuesday, May 14, 2019 7:24 PM

WPBF: Battle against opioid epidemic rages in South Florida

Florida State Attorney Dave Aronberg believes more can be done to combat drug crisis

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — As the battle against the opioid epidemic continues across the United States, Florida state officials said they are seeing a decrease in overdose deaths across the Sunshine State.

Florida State Attorney Dave Aronberg said he believes increased enforcement, use of narcan and rehabilitation after an overdose occurs have contributed to the decrease...


Thursday, May 2, 2019 12:00 AM

New York Times: Top Executives of Insys, an Opioid Company, Are Found Guilty of Racketeering

BOSTON — A federal jury on Thursday found the top executives of Insys Therapeutics, a company that sold a fentanyl-based painkiller, guilty of racketeering charges in a rare criminal prosecution that blamed corporate officials for contributing to the nation’s opioid epidemic...


Sunday, April 28, 2019 7:00 PM

CBS News - 60 Minutes: Deadly fentanyl bought online from China being shipped through the mail

Fentanyl is 50 times more potent than heroin and is now available on the internet and can be delivered through the mail...


Wednesday, April 24, 2019 6:45 AM

MSNBC - Morning Joe: State Attorney Dave Aronberg's interview on opioid distributors charged with federal crimes.

Here’s a clip from State Attorney Dave Aronberg's Morning Joe interview on the first ever criminal charges against a drug distributor and its former executives for fueling the opioid crisis.


Thursday, April 18, 2019 9:00 AM

State Attorney Dave Aronberg to Speak at the Rx Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit in Atlanta – the Largest Annual Conference Addressing the Opioid Crisis

State Attorney Dave Aronberg has been selected to speak at the Rx Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit in Atlanta on April 24th, which is the largest annual conference addressing the opioid crisis. Aronberg will join Washington, DC, attorneys Stacey Worthy and Daniel McClughen in a presentation entitled “A Sobering Task: Protecting the Health and Safety of People in Treatment and Recovery.”

State Attorney Aronberg will be joined at the conference by Chief Assistant State Attorney Alan Johnson, who leads Aronberg’s Sober Homes Task Force. The Sober Homes Task Force’s crackdown on rogue sober homes and corrupted drug treatment centers was an important factor in Palm Beach County’s approximate 40% decrease in opioid overdose deaths in 2018, compared to 2017.

At the four-day conference, more than 3000 participants share strategies on the opioid crisis with decision makers and allied professionals, and learn what is working in prevention, treatment and law enforcement. President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump will address participants on April 24th. Notable headline speakers at the conference in past years have included President Barack Obama in 2016, Congressmen Patrick Kennedy and Newt Gingrich in 2017, and President Bill Clinton in 2018.

“I am honored to be participating in this prestigious conference,” said State Attorney Aronberg, “and look forward to sharing Palm Beach County’s success in saving lives from the opioid epidemic by cleaning up fraud and abuse in the drug treatment and sober home industries.”

The Rx Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit will take place April 22-25 at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta. For more information on the conference, visit www.rx-summit.com.
xxx


Monday, April 15, 2019 10:09 AM

Palm Beach Post: Sober-home owner sentenced to 4 years for patient brokering

Bradley Vercosa’s sober homes were ‘flop houses’ that ‘preyed on’ their residents, the family of a man who died in one said in court.

WEST PALM BEACH — Gail Smith asked Bradley Vercosa if he knew where he was Aug. 15, 2016. She said she remembered where she was: She was on the phone with her son, Kenny, who just turned 21. He was in addiction treatment and living in one of Vercosa’s sober homes in South Florida. Gail Smith said they were planning a trip down to visit him...


Sunday, April 7, 2019 5:10 PM

Palm Beach Post: Boca man, 75, charged with patient brokering

His wife, daughter were among dozens arrested Tuesday in massive, multi-state kickback fraud

Steven Arnold Manko was arrested today and faces three charges of fraud in a patient-brokering scheme that has now led to three dozen arrests in Florida and Pennsylvania...


Tuesday, April 2, 2019 6:10 PM

Palm Beach Post: Dozens arrested in patient-brokering scheme connected to Lake Park lab

Lake Park lab billed insurance companies $141 million in two years for urine tests, authorities said.

WEST PALM BEACH -- A Lake Park laboratory is at the center of a multimillion dollar patient-brokering scheme that has led to the arrest of 35 people in Florida and Pennsylvania, state attorney Dave Aronberg said Tuesday...


Tuesday, April 2, 2019 6:10 PM

Sun Sentinel: 15 arrested in South Florida drug lab kickback scheme

A Palm Beach County drug testing lab and 10 South Florida treatment centers worked together to fraudulently bill more than $141 million in unwarranted urine testing of drug addicts, Palm Beach County State Attorney Dave Aronberg said Tuesday...


Tuesday, April 2, 2019 5:54 PM

CBS 12: 15 arrested in multi state drug treatment fraud case

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (CBS12) — Palm Beach County State Attorney Dave Aronberg announced Tuesday the Sober Home Task Force busted open a massive multi-state kickback scheme between drug treatment centers and a local drug testing lab...


Tuesday, April 2, 2019 5:51 PM

WPBF: Arrests made in drug treatment fraud case

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Fifteen people are behind bars in a multi-state drug treatment fraud investigation.

The arrests involve a Lake Park laboratory and 10 south Florida treatment centers, from Ft. Pierce all the way to Miami...


Tuesday, April 2, 2019 5:37 PM

Reading Eagle: Florida prosecutor announces arrests tied to urine-testing lab used by Liberation Way

Prosecutors in Florida on Tuesday announced 15 arrests related to drug abuse treatment that included individuals tied to a urine-testing lab used by Liberation Way in Pennsylvania.

The announcement by the office of State Attorney Dave Aronberg of Palm Beach County came eight days after Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro lodged criminal charges against 11 people tied to alleged kickback and fraud schemes at Liberation Way, a treatment company that had two centers in Montgomery County...


Monday, April 1, 2019 10:00 PM

WPTV: Palm Beach County Sober Homes Task Force to announce arrests in major fraud case

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — Palm Beach County State Attorney Dave Aronberg and other law enforcement officials will announce arrests in a multi-state drug treatment fraud investigation on Tuesday.

Aronberg is scheduled to hold a news conference at 2:30 p.m., where he'll be joined by the FBI, Justice Department, Palm Beach County Sober Homes Task Force, and the Pennsylvania’s Office of the Attorney General...


Tuesday, March 26, 2019 11:57 PM

Reading Eagle: Former employees saddened by alleged Liberation Way schemes that led to 82 felony charges

READING, PA —
Lisa Fobian cried Monday night as she absorbed the full magnitude of the alleged deception and lies at Liberation Way, the drug abuse treatment company where she worked for more than three years.

On Monday, Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced the arrest of 11 owners, employees and people associated with the for-profit company and charges they ran a complex web of fraud and kickback schemes...


Monday, March 25, 2019 1:42 PM

Palm Beach Post: First person found guilty of patient brokering sentenced to 3 years

Nicholas Cirio, the first person to be convicted by a jury for patient brokering in Palm Beach County, was sentenced by Circuit Judge Cheryl Caracuzzo.

WEST PALM BEACH — The first person to go to trial and be convicted by a jury of patient brokering in Palm Beach County was sentenced to nearly three years in prison Monday morning...


Thursday, March 21, 2019 12:02 AM

NPR: Fentanyl-Linked Deaths: The U.S. Opioid Epidemic's Third Wave Begins

Men are dying after opioid overdoses at nearly three times the rate of women in the United States. Overdose deaths are increasing faster among black and Latino Americans than among whites. And there's an especially steep rise in the number of young adults ages 25 to 34 whose death certificates include some version of the drug fentanyl...


Friday, March 1, 2019 12:00 AM

Mother Jones: Inside a Disturbing New Phase of the Opioid Epidemic

“Mom, When They Look at Me, They See Dollar Signs”

How rehab recruiters are luring recovering opioid addicts into a deadly cycle.


Wednesday, February 13, 2019 6:17 PM

Palm Beach Post: Jury finds man guilty of patient brokering in first case to go to trial

A six-person jury found 40-year-old Nick Cirio guilty of 10 counts of patient brokering.

WEST PALM BEACH — Assistant State Attorney Ashley Ackerman told the jury there were two words that were said over and over again throughout the trial of Nick Cirio: patient brokering. And, she said, they still may not know exactly what that means or still may be digesting the large amount of evidence, but she wanted to be clear on why they sat through three days of testimony this week...


Wednesday, February 13, 2019 5:01 AM

Palm Beach Post: Editorial - Judge’s ruling threatens Aronberg’s war on opioid abuses

Efforts to rein in sober home industry abuses are finally paying dividends. A 42 percent dropin the number of fatal opioid overdoses in Palm Beach County alone is a testament to that fact.

But that progress is threatened by a ruling last week by Circuit Judge Laura Johnson that makes it almost impossible for prosecutors to go after unscrupulous drug treatment center operators and help save the lives of troubled patients...


Friday, February 8, 2019 7:00 AM

Fort Myers News-Press: Losing her: After detox in Southwest Florida, a precipice with few safety nets

“Why couldn’t I catch you?”

Willie Weatherley will ask that question long after the heartbreak of her loss subsides.

She will wonder why she survived her opioid addiction while her sister Jessica did not.

When last seen by The News-Press in December, Jessica Weatherley had made it into detox after a frustrated first attempt.

Lacking money or insurance, the young Fort Myers mother next went to a sober home on Florida’s east coast where, far from the influence of using friends, Willie hoped she might stay on the recovery path...


Thursday, January 24, 2019 12:00 AM

WLRN: Palm Beach County State Attorney Explains Success In Reducing Opioid Related Deaths

Palm Beach County has been the epicenter of the opioid crisis in Florida. But data from the county’s state attorney office shows opioid deaths decreased 41 percent from 2017 to 2018...


Thursday, January 17, 2019 4:15 PM

Sun Sentinel: Opioid death rate plunges 41 percent in Florida county at center of epidemic

Almost three years after Palm Beach County officials set out to combat the opioid epidemic, it looks like their efforts are paying off: The State Attorney’s Office reports there were 326 opioid deaths in 2018, down from 558 in 2017. That’s a 41 percent decline...


Monday, January 14, 2019 5:19 PM

Palm Beach Post: Delray Police’s success with opioid crisis catches eye of state’s new attorney general

"The city and Palm Beach County State Attorney Dave Aronberg, who also was invited to serve on Moody’s task force, found ways to force out disreputable sober homes and lessen the impact of the national epidemic."


Monday, January 14, 2019 12:18 PM

Palm Beach Post: Sober-home task force: Kickbacks for North Palm center totaled nearly $250,000

A Tequesta-area man is accused of paying to have patients sent to Reliance Treatment Center in North Palm Beach.

WEST PALM BEACH — A Tequesta-area man is charged with paying nearly a quarter-million dollars in kickbacks for referrals to his treatment centers....


Monday, January 14, 2019 10:06 AM

CNN: Odds of dying from accidental opioid overdose in the US surpass those of dying in car accident

For the first time on record the odds of accidentally dying from an opioid overdose in the United States are now greater than those of dying in an automobile accident...


Tuesday, January 8, 2019 6:30 AM

Burlington Free Press: Do sober houses exploit patients? A look at what's happened in other states

Vermont's growing sober house industry is largely unregulated. A local nonprofit is aiming to change that by this summer. But currently, without oversight, there is no state assurances that these homes are safe for residents. A sober house, or a recovery residence, is a group drug-free home for people in recovery from addiction. Many people find support in these places. But around the country, unscrupulous sober house owners have taken advantage of people struggling with addiction, exploiting residents and, in some cases, leading them into relapse or overdose...


Wednesday, December 26, 2018 2:01 AM

Florida Times Union: Wednesday’s Editorial Progress made, still too many overdose deaths

Next year at this time, the number of overdose deaths in Jacksonville should have declined significantly. Project Save Lives should have moved from a pilot program to a permanent part of the city government with its own dedicated revenue source, supplemented by funds from a nationwide suit filed by the city and others against the opioid pill manufacturers...


Wednesday, December 26, 2018 12:00 AM

New York Times: Opioid Makers Are the Big Winners in Lawsuit Settlements

When the Justice Department in 2007 settled its criminal case against the maker of OxyContin, a high-powered painkiller, federal officials claimed a “victory” that would deter other companies from illegally marketing opioids...


Friday, December 14, 2018 3:01 PM

Palm Beach Post: Two arrested in patient-brokering scheme involving fraudulent prescriptions

The Palm Beach County Sober Homes Task Force said it’s the first arrests of these kind it has seen.

WEST PALM BEACH — A pharmacist and a “middleman” conspired to split thousands of dollars in insurance reimbursements from fraudulent prescriptions with an undercover police officer pretending to own a drug-treatment center, authorities said in announcing their arrests...


Wednesday, December 12, 2018 10:21 AM

USA Today: Fentanyl now America's deadliest drug, federal health officials say

Fentanyl is now the deadliest drug in America, federal health officials announced Wednesday, with over 18,000 overdose deaths in 2016, the most recent year for which statistics are available...


Tuesday, December 4, 2018 5:23 PM

Palm Beach Post: Wellington man charged with 20 counts of patient brokering

Authorities say he paid sober homes thousands of dollars to refer patients to his Royal Palm Beach drug-treatment center.

A Wellington resident who owns a substance-abuse facility in Royal Palm Beach has been charged with 20 counts of patient brokering, according to a Delray Beach police report and court documents...


Tuesday, December 4, 2018 3:56 PM

Miami Herald: Life expectancy keeps falling under opioid crisis. Here’s how Florida bucks the trend.

Florida “has done more than any other state to reduce opioid sales,” says ConsumerProtect.Com. The consumer group just released a study using data from the Drug Enforcement Agency...


Sunday, December 2, 2018 2:44 AM

CNN: China agrees to make fentanyl a controlled substance after talks with US at G20 summit

China has agreed to reclassify fentanyl as a "controlled substance," in what the White House is calling a "wonderful humanitarian gesture" after the much-anticipated talks Saturday between US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping in Buenos Aires, Argentina...


Thursday, November 29, 2018 12:00 AM

New York Times: ‘The Numbers Are So Staggering.’ Overdose Deaths Set a Record Last Year.

A class of synthetic drugs has replaced heroin in many major American drug markets, ushering in a more deadly phase of the opioid epidemic...


Thursday, November 15, 2018 12:00 AM

Recovery Unscripted: #79 Fixing the Florida Shuffle with Dave Aronberg

How can advocates make real strides in the opioid crisis when they have to fight against unethical practices in healthcare and bureaucracy in government? We’ll dive into this with State Attorney Dave Aronberg on this episode of Recovery Unscripted. For more about Recovery Unscripted, visit http://recoveryunscripted.org. For more about Dave's fight, visit https://www.fixthefloridashuffle.com.

Additional audio links:
iTunes
Spotify


Wednesday, November 14, 2018 11:12 AM

Palm Beach Post: Second person arrested in Loxahatchee Groves patient-brokering probe

The wife of a man arrested last week now faces 24 counts stemming from a sober home at a horse farm.

LOXAHATCHEE GROVES -- Four days after her husband was arrested on patient-brokering charges, a Loxahatchee Groves woman is in the Palm Beach County Jail facing similar charges...


Monday, November 12, 2018 7:48 AM

Palm Beach Post: Loxahatchee Groves horse farm owner accused of patient brokering

The co-owner of a sober home is facing 24 felony and one misdemeanor counts.

LOXAHATCHEE GROVES — The owner of a Loxahatchee Groves horse farm that doubled as a sober home was arrested Friday and is facing more than two dozen counts related to patient brokering, according to an arrest report...


Thursday, November 8, 2018 6:17 PM

CBS News: Father blames body broker after son dies during drug rehab

SAN FRANCISCO — It has been dubbed "the Florida Shuffle." Drug addicts from across the country get lured to the Sunshine State for decades with the promise of treatment, only to be traded from one unscrupulous drug rehab to another. Meanwhile, the patient's insurance company gets milked for tens of thousands of dollars in fraudulent charges...


Thursday, November 8, 2018 6:05 PM

Palm Beach Post: Son of football coaching legend Schnellenberger accused of patient brokering

Timothy Schnellenberger and his wife face two dozen counts. They say they received ‘incorrect legal advice.’

WEST PALM BEACH — The son and daughter-in-law of former FAU and University of Miami coach Howard Schnellenberger are facing two dozen counts of patient brokering, according to documents obtained by The Palm Beach Post...


Monday, November 5, 2018 12:03 PM

Palm Beach Post: Sober-home operator submitted fake insurance claims, authorities say

BOYNTON BEACH — A man who with his wife operated a drug-treatment center and sober homes in Boynton Beach has been charged with filing more than $70,000 in fraudulent insurance claims, according to reports...


Friday, November 2, 2018 7:00 PM

Make Your Life Happen: Dave Aronberg - The Opioid Crisis & How Legislation & Perception is Changing to Stop This Epidemic

A serious issue that is affecting millions in our country and community is the opioid crisis. Hosts, Cynthia Heathcoe & Nicole Rymer are fortunate to talk to Palm Beach State Attorney, Dave Aronberg this week about the epidemic...


Friday, November 2, 2018 9:14 AM

Palm Beach Post: Aronberg, prosecutors recommend steps to fight opioid epidemic as it spreads

A paper offers advice to places across the U.S. just now experiencing the problem Palm Beach County has faced for years.
Palm Beach County State Attorney Dave Aronberg and his office still get calls from other jurisdictions asking for advice. Last week, it was South Carolina. Earlier this year, he and others went to California to help draft legislation. Recently, they went to Washington, D.C., to testify before Congress. It's what happens when your county has been the epicenter for the opioid epidemic and you've had a few years to test and develop best practices...


Tuesday, October 23, 2018 6:17 PM

USA Today: Opioid 'patient brokers' who prey on the addicted finally get the treatment they deserve

As if people addicted to opioids don’t have enough trouble, shady operators have found a way to exploit them. Across the country, these “patient brokers” troll streets, drug courts and anywhere they might find people with addiction problems to lure them to treatment centers and “sober living homes” — usually illicit ones — in exchange for kickbacks. Internet and TV ads often promote the illegitimate facilities. And some phone hotlines, while offering to connect callers to legitimate treatment, instead collect referrals for facilities, selling them to the highest bidder...


Friday, October 19, 2018 9:45 AM

NDAA Publishes White Paper Addressing the Opioid Epidemic

ARLINGTON, Virginia – The National District Attorneys Association’s (NDAA) Opioid Working Group, comprised of 33 prosecutors from 30 states, published its Opioid Epidemic White Paper this week. After eight months of collaboration, the final product reflects the diverse views of prosecutors representing unique jurisdictions across the country...


Tuesday, October 16, 2018 6:00 PM

CBS 12: Despite reduced number of opioid deaths in PBC, many say more work still needs to be done

 

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (CBS12) — The Palm Beach County Medical Examiner’s Office released new numbers Tuesday showing a 40 percent reduction in the number of opioid overdose deaths in the first nine months of 2018. The State Attorney for Palm Beach County Dave Aronberg credits multiple reasons for the reduced numbers, namely the availability of Narcan and the crackdown on sober homes...


Friday, October 5, 2018 5:40 PM

Sun Sentinel: Drug dealer first to be accused of murder under new law, prosecutor says

A man stands accused of first-degree murder after a deadly drug deal, marking a first in Palm Beach County under a new Florida law. Calvin Warren Jr. has been indicted on the murder charge after Thomas Matuseski overdosed from the fentanyl Warren provided, Palm Beach County State Attorney Dave Aronberg said in a news release Friday...


Thursday, October 4, 2018 12:04 PM

Miami Herald: Rubio bill that penalizes corrupt drug-treatment centers passes Congress

WASHINGTON - Marco Rubio isn’t a big fan of the U.S. Senate’s often slow-moving ways, but he managed to get a bill passed in less than six months that allows the federal government to crack down on non-reputable drug recovery homes...


Monday, October 1, 2018 9:45 AM

MSNBC - Morning Joe: Inside America’s opioid crisis

Inside America’s opioid crisis: Dr. Dave Campbell appears on “Morning Joe”


Sunday, September 30, 2018 7:35 PM

CBS News - 60 Minutes: Who's responsible for the opioid epidemic? Doctors or pharmaceutical companies?

"In the annals of 60 Minutes, we have rarely come across a doctor like Florida physician Barry Schultz. Prosecutors say he wantonly prescribed and sold massive quantities of highly addictive opioids. In July, Schultz was sentenced to 157 years for his role in fueling the most devastating public health crisis of the 21 century. Last year more Americans died of drug overdoses than in the entire Vietnam War. While Schultz ended up in jail, Mallinckrodt, the pharmaceutical company that flooded Florida with hundreds of millions of oxycodone pills, paid a relatively small penalty. The question now being debated in Congress and in federal court is: who is responsible for the opioid epidemic? The doctors who prescribed the pills or the opioid manufacturers and distributors who supplied them?" ....


Friday, September 28, 2018 6:10 PM

Sun Sentinel: Bipartisan opioid bill will save lives in South Florida, supporters say

Amid partisan fighting over the future of the Supreme Court, Republicans and Democrats united to pass legislation Friday that supporters say will help put unscrupulous drug treatment providers out of business in South Florida and lower the region’s opioid death toll...


Friday, September 28, 2018 3:07 PM

OC Register: Empower local governments to regulate wayward sober homes, witnesses tell Congress

WASHINGTON, D.C. – A day after California took its first firm legislative steps to reign in an out-of-control addiction treatment industry – and three days after prosecutors in Orange County 1 Comment – Congress took on the next piece of the puzzle:

How to reconcile laws that protect the disabled with the need to ensure that sober living homes aren’t dangerous flophouses? ...


Friday, September 28, 2018 9:55 AM

Orlando Sentinel: Florida opioid crisis: '60 Minutes' explores disaster

A Florida catastrophe — the opioid crisis — makes the 51st season premiere of “60 Minutes” this weekend.
The news magazine asks: Who is more responsible, doctors like Barry Schultz, or the manufacturers and distributors who supply huge amounts of the addictive drugs? ...


Thursday, September 27, 2018 3:55 PM

CBS News: Jailed doctor who prescribed opioids says he's a scapegoat, victim'smother calls him a murderer

Pain clinic pioneer Barry Schultz, now sentenced by a Florida judge to 157 years in prison for drug trafficking, says he is a scapegoat. The mother of his patient who died of an overdose after Schultz prescribed him hundreds of opioid pills calls him a murderer. Bill Whitaker continues to investigate the origins of the opioid epidemic on the 51st Season Premiere of 60 Minutes, Sunday, Sept. 30 at 7:30 p.m. ET and 7 p.m. PT on CBS....


Tuesday, September 25, 2018 2:00 PM

State Attorney Aronberg to Testify Before Congressional Panel this Friday on Sober Homes

State Attorney Dave Aronberg has accepted an invitation to testify on fraud and abuse in the sober home industry before the U.S. House Committee on the Judiciary’s Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice. Aronberg, who leads a Sober Homes Task Force that has made 54 arrests for patient brokering and insurance fraud since October 2016, will provide a five-minute opening statement, followed by  questions and answers. Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) extended the invitation for Aronberg to testify before the subcommittee, which includes local Congressman Ted Deutch (D-FL)...


Wednesday, September 12, 2018 8:29 AM

Palm Beach Post: Boca man facing new set of patient-brokering charges

DELRAY BEACH — For the third time in 16 months, a Boca Raton man has been arrested on charges of patient brokering. David Remland, 54, is accused of paying kickbacks so that urine tests at a substance-abuse treatment facility based in New Hampshire would be directed to his Delray Beach lab, according to an arrest report...


Sunday, September 2, 2018 9:51 AM

OC Register: Rehab Riviera: 3 clean-up bills defy odds and hit governor’s desk, but are they tough enough?

Most legislation aimed at cleaning up California’s dysfunctional addiction treatment industry slammed into brick walls, withered in suspense files or was watered down so much as to be unrecognizable – again...


Friday, August 24, 2018 10:00 AM

Palm Beach County State Attorney Dave Aronberg Launches Website to Convince Federal Policymakers to Fix the Florida Shuffle

WEST PALM BEACH, Florida, August 24, 2018 - Targeting fraud and abuse in the drug treatment and sober home industries, Palm Beach County State Attorney Dave Aronberg announced today that he has launched a website, www.FixTheFloridaShuffle.com, to convince federal policymakers to change the laws that have unwittingly led to thousands of opioid-related deaths throughout the country...


Saturday, August 11, 2018 10:37 AM

Palm Beach Post: Time to get tough with China — on fentanyl - By: Dave Aronberg

As President Donald Trump’s trade war with China continues to escalate, there is a more urgent issue with China that remains overlooked: the continued illegal importation into the United States of the deadly synthetic opioid, fentanyl...


Monday, July 23, 2018 12:00 AM

Florida Daily: Marco Rubio, Amy Klobuchar Want to Crack Down on Patient Brokering

Last week, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., paired up with U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., to unveil a proposal cracking down on patient brokering...


Friday, July 6, 2018 3:07 PM

ABC Action News: New federal drug rehab bill inspired by Florida Shuffle

WASHINGTON D.C. — Senator Marco Rubio posted on Twitter how he hopes a bill he's sponsoring will put an end to fraud in the residential drug treatment industry...


Friday, July 6, 2018 12:00 AM

Palm Beach Post: Opioid deaths declining? New numbers offer hope, says state attorney

As the opioid epidemic continues to rage across the United States, the Palm Beach County State Attorney’s Office is embracing two new local statistics as evidence that their efforts to curb the county’s crisis are working...


Thursday, July 5, 2018 1:28 PM

Miami Herald: Rubio wants to stop kickbacks that keep drug addicts perpetually in recovery

WASHINGTON - Marco Rubio is just as tired as you are of the ubiquitous commercial where a man in blue scrubs urges families beset by drug addition to call for treatment options...


Monday, July 2, 2018 10:04 AM

CNBC American Greed: Florida Rehab Gone Wild


Friday, June 29, 2018 10:06 AM

CNBC American Greed: Opioids' hidden epidemic—fraudulent drug treatment centers

Thanks to the opioid epidemic, more Americans die from overdoses every year than in car accidents, and the federal government is scrambling to try to get in front of the crisis. The House just passed and sent to the Senate a sweeping, bipartisan package of legislation backed by dozens of advocacy groups...


Wednesday, June 27, 2018 12:00 AM

Palm Beach Post: How Florida ignited the heroin epidemic

In 2011, a national heroin epidemic was the equivalent of dry tinder, lacking only a match. Florida lit it up. Purdue Pharma and El Chapo had provided kindling: The pharma company’s unprecedented marketing campaign for its blockbuster OxyContin painkiller did not stop with pill sales. Purdue marketing helped ensure that for the first time in U.S. history, heavy doses of one of the most addictive substances known to man would be prescribed by family doctors for everything from sprained ankles to migraines...


Monday, June 18, 2018 12:00 AM

Palm Beach Post: Aronberg wins insurance fraud award for sober-homes task force 

Palm Beach County State Attorney Dave Aronberg received an award this month for his work tackling fraud in the sober home community across the county...


Friday, June 8, 2018 7:00 PM

The Hill: Big Pharma's avoidable role in the man-made opioid epidemic - By: Dave Aronberg

When the boss calls you into his office, it’s always a big deal. And so it was in the fall of 2001, when I was a 30-year-old assistant attorney general in the economic crime division. The boss — Attorney General Bob Butterworth — handed me a magazine article about people with sports and workplace injuries who became addicted to a new painkiller, OxyContin, manufactured by Purdue Pharma. Butterworth was concerned that Purdue Pharma was marketing OxyContin deceptively and too aggressively, leading to overprescribing, addiction and, in many cases, death...


Friday, June 1, 2018 12:00 AM

Palm Beach Post: Authorities: Two more charged in drug urine-test kickback scheme

Two men connected to a Delray Beach-area lab linked to kickbacks for urine tests for people in treatment and recovery for substance abusehave been arrested, a day after three men also were charged in the scheme...


Sunday, May 20, 2018 11:00 PM

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO): Rehab

Caution - Adult content in the following video:


Monday, May 14, 2018 12:00 AM

GOVERNING: Sober Living Homes and the Regulation They Need - By: Heather Stratman & Dave Aronberg

"Sober living homes," or "recovery residences" as they are also known, are group homes that bring together multiple unrelated individuals who are in drug recovery and pursuing sobriety. What could possibly be harmful about such places of healing, hope and support? Nothing, in the case of the many responsible residence owners who mean to help the homes' inhabitants...


Wednesday, April 25, 2018 12:00 AM

Opioid Watch: Prosecutor Dave Aronberg on the ‘Florida Shuffle’: Lethal Fraud in the Opioid Detox Industry

Florida is the nation’s second most popular destination for for-profit drug detox, and Palm Beach County is the state’s leader in that respect. As of April 1, it was home to 185 of Florida’s 771 licensed drug treatment facilities. As impressive as those numbers are, each total has shrunk markedly from just eight months ago, when the county had 207 of the state’s 953 facilities. The sudden downsizing reflects, at least in part, the shutdown and flight of bad actors in the face of a crackdown on fraud by the Palm Beach State Attorney’s Office, which has made 45 industry arrests in the last year and a half, obtaining 16 convictions so far...


Thursday, April 19, 2018 12:00 AM

Behavioral Healthcare Executive: New Google policy aims for slow rollout

After a temporary hiatus, Google has reopened the sale of AdWords in the addiction treatment market under a new policy. The policy requires a 12-measure certification process for advertisers, and some of the finer details will emerge as the standards are put into everyday practice...


Monday, April 16, 2018 12:03 PM

Reuters: Google unveils vetting process for drug rehab ads

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Google told Reuters Monday it would resume accepting ads from U.S. addiction treatment centers in July, nearly a year after the Alphabet Inc (GOOGL.O) unit suspended the lucrative category of advertisers for numerous deceptive and misleading ads...


Wednesday, April 11, 2018 6:49 PM

WPBF: State Attorney Aronberg talks opioids

State Attorney Dave Aronberg says there are now 14 opioid related deaths a day in Florida today. He says that's reason enough to stand beside the county in its legal battle against a slew of pharmaceutical companies with opioid addiction holding strong, Palm Beach County filed a lawsuit against several pharmaceutical companies, alleging they prioritize profits over people's lives...


Tuesday, March 27, 2018 5:00 AM

OC Register: Florida prosecutor Dave Aronberg sees parallels in rogue rehabs in Florida and Southern California

Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas recently created a task force to handle abuses in the anti-addiction industry in the “Rehab Riviera.” Rackauckas is hoping to repeat the success of Palm Beach County State Attorney Dave Aronberg, who created a similar task force two years ago. Since then, Palm Beach officials have made 44 rehab-industry related arrests...


Monday, March 19, 2018 12:00 AM

Voice of OC: Fix Federal Law to Promote Drug Recovery Over Relapse - By: Dave Aronberg

As our country faces an unprecedented opioid epidemic that takes at least 115 lives each day, you may have noticed a new neighbor on your block. Without fanfare or neighborhood notification, the house next door may now be a “sober home” or “recovery residence,” where multiple unrelated individuals in drug recovery live together in pursuit of sobriety. There is no medical treatment inside these residences. They are just a communal living space where residents usually attend outpatient rehab at a nearby facility. The best of these homes are the ones you never even notice are amongst you. The worst degenerate into flophouses, where unscrupulous landlords exploit people with substance use disorder for money or sex, and encourage relapse over recovery...


Wednesday, March 14, 2018 12:00 AM

Association Spearheads Sober Living Reform Efforts, Invites National Advocate, Florida State Attorney, Dave Aronberg to Meet with Orange County Leader

ORANGE, CA (MARCH 14, 2018) – The Association of California Cities– Orange County (ACC-OC)— the region’s leading public policy, strategy, education and advocacy group— announces a collaborative engagement visit with Florida State Attorney, Dave Aronberg on the complex issue of sober living reform. On March 20, 2018; Aronberg, a prominent national voice on sober living issues will visit Orange County to meet with officials and local leaders. Aronberg will participate in a roundtable discussion during his visit, addressing stakeholder concerns and answering questions on the necessity of sober living reform...


Thursday, February 1, 2018 12:00 AM

Palm Beach Post: FAU researchers, law enforcement collaborate to tackle opioid crisis

The deadliest drug crisis in American history won’t be solved by just researchers, law enforcement or recovery treatment providers. But put them all in the same room to brainstorm, as Florida Atlantic University did Wednesday, and the result is steps toward a multi-pronged approach to tackle addiction...


Wednesday, January 31, 2018 7:37 PM

WPTV: State Attorney shares impact of Task Force

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. - This is the Ambrosia Treatment Center on Singer Island. Jerry Haffey with the treatment center said, "I hate seeing kids dying in closets because of scum bag providers." He's clearly passionate about helping people beat substance abuse. But Haffey knows treatment centers around here have a bad reputation. That's why he joined forces with State Attorney Dave Aronberg to lobby for money to fund the Sober Homes Task Force...


Wednesday, January 31, 2018 12:00 AM

Tampa Bay Time: Palm Beach County State Attorney to lead prosecutors on opioid report

Palm Beach County State Attorney Dave Aronberg was picked to lead a panel of prosecutors across the country to come up with "best practices" to deal with the opioid crisis...


Wednesday, January 31, 2018 12:00 AM

State Attorney Dave Aronberg to Lead National Prosecutor Initiative on Opioid Abuse


Tuesday, December 12, 2017 5:41 PM

WPTV: Palm Beach County State Attorney Dave Aronberg testifies on opioid crisis

Palm Beach County State Attorney Dave Aronberg is testifying Tuesday on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., regarding the opioid crisis. Aronberg told NewsChannel 5 the federal government needs to do its fair share, noting that corrupt individuals continue to exploit well-intended federal laws to prey upon opioid addicts...


Tuesday, December 12, 2017 12:39 PM

Palm Beach Post: State Attorney Dave Aronberg testifies before House panel on opioids

WASHINGTON — The congressional representatives sitting on the House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations wanted to hear about patient brokering and sober home fraud. Tuesday morning, they got an earful from Palm Beach County State Attorney Dave Aronberg and his chief assistant, Al Johnson...


Monday, December 11, 2017 12:00 AM

Dave Aronberg to Testify Before Congressional Committee on the Opioid Epidemic


Wednesday, September 20, 2017 12:00 AM

TIME: Opportunists Are Exploiting the ACA to Prey on Opioid Addicts - By: Dave Aronberg

As so often happens, a frantic mother called us about her 19-year-old daughter, who I’ll call Jen. A heroin addict, Jen had been shuttled between multiple treatment centers and sober homes by greedy marketers looking to cash in on the teenager’s insurance benefits by keeping her perpetually in recovery, but never sober. As our investigator searched Palm Beach County for Jen, her mother finally reached her by phone. She pleaded with her daughter to leave Florida, to which Jen replied, “Why would I come home? I have all I need here.” In the ensuing months, Jen has become a victim of a vicious cycle known as “the Florida shuffle.” She has continued in and out of treatment, repeatedly relapsed and overdosed, been on the brink of death, was revived and all the while trafficked by marketers offering free rent and other gifts — as she ignores her mother’s desperate pleas to come home...


Tuesday, August 15, 2017 12:00 AM

Progress in Cleaning up the Drug Rehab Industry

In July 2016, our office established a task force into abuses in the drug treatment industry, including “sober homes.” Sober homes are group residences designed to help recovering drug and alcohol addicts, including those attending outpatient treatment programs, transition back into the community. Unlike drug treatment centers, sober homes are unregulated, which is why they are proliferating throughout our residential neighborhoods. Because there is no regulation or oversight, there is no accurate count of how many exist. Government officials who seek to regulate sober homes through local ordinances or zoning laws have been thwarted by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Fair Housing Act (FHA)...


Thursday, August 10, 2017 7:25 AM

NPR: Beach Town Tries To Reverse Runaway Growth Of 'Sober Homes'

Delray Beach's charming downtown, palm trees and waves attract locals, vacationers and, increasingly, drug users who come here to try to get off opioids. In some parts of the small Florida community, there's a residential program for people recovering from addiction — a sober living house or "sober home" — on nearly every block. Sometimes two or three...


Thursday, August 10, 2017 12:00 AM

WLRN: Crackdown On South Florida Addiction Treatment Fraud Has Unintended Consequences, Officials Say

Law enforcement has been cracking down on corruption in South Florida’s drug treatment industry. State and federal officials have arrested more than 30 people for running scams in rehab centers or sober homes in the past year...


Tuesday, August 8, 2017 12:00 AM

WLRN: Opioid Crisis: Lawmakers Look For Solutions In Palm Beach County

State legislators came to Palm Beach County Tuesday to discuss the opioid crisis. County officials, first responders, treatment professionals and advocates offered up stories from the front lines and ideas for reducing overdoses and deaths...


Friday, August 4, 2017 12:00 AM

WPBF: Discussing the opioid crisis with Palm Beach County State Attorney


Sunday, June 25, 2017 11:46 PM

NBC News: Florida’s Billion-Dollar Drug Treatment Industry Is Plagued by Overdoses, Fraud

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Florida — For the first responders who found her lifeless body one October morning, 24-year-old Alison Flory was yet another casualty of addiction here on the front line of Florida's opioid crisis...


Sunday, June 25, 2017 12:00 AM

NBC News - Sunday Night with Megyn Kelly: The Florida Shuffle: The Sometimes Dirty Business of Rehab

 

 


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