U.S.

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions today announced that the Department of Justice charged 412 people, including 56 physicians, with health care fraud costing the federal government approximately $1.3 billion. Of the defendants, 120 are being charged with opioid-related crimes ranging from prescribing patients opioids they do not need to selling prescriptions for cash. Shatterproof Founder and CEO Gary Mendell released the following statement on the news:

"I want to thank Attorney General Sessions, HHS Secretary Price and their Departments for taking action to bring down criminal doctors and treatment facilities. Americans with substance use disorders are losing their lives every day as a result of prescription opioids, and the crooks who defraud them – and the American taxpayer – deserve to be punished.

“Treatment quality is a topic that hits home for me. My late son Brian went to eight different treatment programs, none of which provided him with the quality, evidence-based care that he needed. Higher-quality treatment may have been able to save his life.

“Rooting out fraudsters is an important first step in improving the quality of treatment across the continuum of recovery. I hope that this administration continues to take actions and enact policies that improve substance use disorder treatment accessibility and quality for the millions of Americans whose lives depend on it.”

Shatterproof and Mr. Mendell launched a Substance Use Disorder Treatment Task Force in April to address the lack of quality addiction treatment. The Task Force is comprised of private and public payers, advocates and former government officials and will utilize a business approach to develop a private sector-oriented plan to implement the recommendations found in the Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health.

Mr. Mendell also spoke in front of the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis at the White House last month to address the need for quality treatment. To see Shatterproof’s full list of recommendations to the federal government, go here.

About Gary Mendell:

Gary Mendell is the founder and CEO of Shatterproof. He founded Shatterproof to spare others the tragedy his family suffered with the loss of his son Brian to addiction in 2011. Mr. Mendell is an experienced businessman and CEO who founded HEI Hotels & Resorts and is the former president of Starwood Lodging Trust.

About Shatterproof:

Shatterproof is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to reducing the devastation the disease of addiction causes families. Shatterproof works to end the stigma and foster a community of support, providing evidence-based resources to support prevention, treatment and recovery. Shatterproof advocates for changes in policy at the federal and state level and supports the development and implementation of evidence-based solutions for substance use disorders.

###