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The next frontier of opioid enforcement: Civil liability for hospitals

Miranda Hooker (hookerm@pepperlaw.com) is a Partner in the Boston office of Pepper Hamilton. Christen Tuttle (tuttlec@pepperlaw.com) is a Partner and Ying Zeng (zengy@pepperlaw.com) is an Associate in the Philadelphia office of Pepper Hamilton.

The opioid epidemic is one of the top enforcement priorities for the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). In October 2018, former Attorney General Jeff Sessions referred to the opioid epidemic as the “deadliest drug crisis in American history”[1] when he announced DOJ’s plan to counter the issue through increased enforcement of the country’s drug laws. If recent history is a guide, hospitals may soon find themselves in the government’s crosshairs, as the Controlled Substances Act (CSA)[2] provides for civil penalties for drug division and other recordkeeping violations, and is proving to be a powerful tool in the government’s arsenal.

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