Colorado Drug Diversion & DEA Opioid Defense
Dedicated to Protecting Your License and Your Livelihood
The war against opioids (and physicians) has arrived in Colorado. Federal raids, arrests, grand jury subpoenas, and DEA and FBI investigations have become the new reality for physicians in Colorado motivated and trained to offer their patients quality service and excellent care.
The times, when being a “good doctor” served as protection and immunity against absurd allegations, are over. Today, Coloradan pain management specialists, psychiatrists, family doctors, internal medicine specialists, rheumatologists, and other prescribers of opioids, sedatives, muscle stimulants, and benzodiazepines must be on alert and consider every insurance audit, DEA visit, or rumor of an investigation as a potential threat to their practice of medicine.
Attorney Dr. Nick Oberheiden has dedicated his practice to helping physicians with their compliance efforts. Nick has represented hundreds of doctors, pharmacies, and health care businesses in DEA, FBI, and OIG investigations across the entire United States. Licensed in all federal courts in Colorado and featured by media stations across the State, physicians and pharmacies in Colorado can count on federal health care fraud defense attorney Dr. Nick Oberheiden as their Colorado drug diversion & opioid defense lawyer.
In hundreds of federal health care cases, Nick has demonstrated his ability to turn hopeless cases into cheerful outcomes. Trained in negotiations at Harvard Law School, Nick has argued health care and opioid cases before the Department of Justice, the FBI, the DEA, the OIG, and he has avoided criminal charges or license revocations in countless grand jury investigations. If you are concerned about your prescription practice, you should see what Nick has done for his clients in DEA opioid cases.
- Recent Example 1: Nick and his team represented a health care business owner in a DEA criminal investigation alleging opioid abuse, drug diversion, and drug theft. The DEA and the FBI raided the client’s practice and Nick was called in a desperate effort to avoid upcoming and announced federal felony charges. Nick immediately noticed that the allegations were absurd and did not justify a search warrant under any circumstances. In a series of meetings with the assigned federal prosecutor, Nick and his team deployed an aggressive and non-compromising strategy and convinced the prosecutor to stop the investigation and to not pursue any charges.
- Recent Example 2: Nick represented physicians across the country, who were served subpoenas from various U.S. Attorney’s Offices in Controlled Substances Act and kickback investigations. All cases had in common that Nick’s clients had to produce sensitive documents like contracts, prescriptions, bank account statements, and other materials designed to connect Nick’s clients to the main targets. Case by case, city-by-city, and prosecutor-by-prosecutor, Nick filed an appearance and began his characteristic proactive case resolution approach. Although none of the physicians were considered mere witnesses to the investigation, Nick managed to avoid civil and criminal liability for every single one of them, and not a single physician was reported to the medical board.
- Recent Example 3 (Pharmacies): Nick has represented dozens and dozens of pharmacies in drug diversion and health care fraud investigations involving the DEA, the FBI, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Office of Inspector General, the FDA, various pharmacy boards, private insurance fraud investigators and supervisors. Not a single pharmacy, pharmacy owner, pharmacy employee, or affiliate had been charged with an offense or lost their DEA privileges. If you run a pharmacy and the DEA is interfering with your business, subpoenas records, shows up for an inspection, executes a search warrant, or otherwise investigates you, you should call attorney Dr. Nick Oberheiden right away.
10 Important Questions about DEA Investigations in Colorado
Which Counties in Colorado Are DEA Hot Spots?
Pueblo County, Otero County, Bent County, Baca County, Las Animas County, Huerfano County, Conejos County, Teller County, Prowers County, Crowley County, Larimer County, Weld County, Adams County, Park County, Mesa County, Delta County, Montezuma County, Kiowa County, Cheyenne County, Kit Carson County, and Yuma County are among the counties with the highest opioid-related hospitalization rates.
Which Counties in Colorado Have the Highest Opioid Death Rate?
Pueblo County, Las Animas County, Chaffee County, Clear Creek County, Teller County, Adams County, Routt County, and Alamosa County are the Colorado counties with the highest opioid death rates in Colorado.
How Do I Know Whether I Am Under DEA Investigation?
Few DEA investigations begin with an arrest or a search warrant. In fact most DEA investigations start with unsuspicious appearing patient chart requests, commercial insurance audits, or rumors of the DEA interviewing patients or staff members about the physician’s prescription policies. At a later stage, clients may be notified of an investigation if they receive a grand jury subpoena or a target letter from the Department of Justice in Colorado.
What Should I Do When the DEA Is Requesting Patient Files?
What you should never do when the DEA is requesting patient files from your office is to simply hand over those files without an experienced attorney (1) getting you an extension and (2) having an opportunity to discuss the purpose of the audit with the investigator or the assigned prosecutor. In fact, it is at this stage of an investigation where defense attorneys can make a significant difference by keeping the investigation “low” and avoiding an escalation or a prosecution.
What Should I Do If DEA Agents Want to Interview Me?
While law enforcement is always entitled to speak to you, you are always entitled to decline such a request. Even though you have nothing to hide and you declared yourself innocent, you need to keep in mind that the reason for a DEA or an FBI agent to interview you is because they believe that you have information regarding a pending federal criminal investigation. You may be the target without knowing irrespective what the agents will tell you in an effort to break the ice and to make you chatty.
The DEA Raided Our Offices: What Now?
DEA search warrants of physician offices have become common in Colorado and are a powerful tool to prepare a criminal prosecution of the practice’s owner and staff members. If this happens to your office or to your pharmacy, you should not wait a second but immediately consult with attorneys familiar with DEA tactics and federal prosecutions to explore your options.
What Should I Do With My Cash Patients?
Cash paying patients have a propensity to cause drug diversion and doctor shopping. Because private pay patients are not registered (and more difficult to monitor), they are among the highest number of opioid overdose fatalities and prescription fraud in Colorado. The challenge for every doctor is to safely transition these patients to another place without increasing the risk of withdrawals or jeopardizing a patient’s continuance of care. You should call Nick Oberheiden to find out what to do with private pay patients while staying compliant with your obligations as a physician.
What Is the 'Correct' Opioid Prescription Policy?
At a minimum, the DEA expects that all patients have signed an opioid contract and are aware of your prescription policies. Typically, a DEA diversion investigator will look for treatment protocols to verify the scope and intensity of your physical examinations, referrals to professional counselors, referrals to physical therapy, and other alternatives or supplements to pain medication management. Due to the higher number of drug version occurrences in Colorado, it is important to be able to document a zero tolerance policy when it comes to failed toxicology tests.
What Are the Penalties in DEA Cases?
As recent newspaper articles about convicted physicians show, drug and opioid investigations have entered new levels of aggressiveness. In general, criminal violations of the Control Substances Act fall under 21 U.S.C. 841 and 21 U.S.C. 846. Under these statutes, prosecutors have the authority to ask for years of incarceration for each criminal violation and even a life sentence if the alleged misconduct has led to the death of a patient.
- 21 U.S.C. 846: Conspiracy to Distribute Controlled Substances
- 21 U.S.C. 841: Criminal Violation of the Controlled Substances Act
- 18 U.S.C. 1347: Health Care Fraud
Don’t let this happen to you. Visit with an experienced lawyer who can share with you how he or she has avoided criminal charges or jail time in DEA cases for other clients before. Get trust and competency on your team. It’s your life, your livelihood.
What Do I Need to Do to Speak with Nick?
Nothing is easier than getting in touch with Nick. All you have to do is call 866-Hire-Nick, which will forward into Nick‘s cell phone so that junior lawyers or office secretaries don’t wall you off. Nick is available to discuss your case or meet you in Colorado free charge and 100% confidential.
Call 866-Hire-Nick to Protect Your License
When you hire federal defense attorney Nick Oberheiden for your Colorado drug diversion & opioid defense, you select a lawyer with true experience. Unlike most lawyers, Nick will disclose to you his universe of health care law and health care fraud defense history — because he is proud of the track record he has built in hundreds of government investigations. And: calls with Nick are free and 100% confidential and they are not delegated to junior lawyers. Call or contact him online today.