Marion VA inspected after large purchases of prescription pills

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MARION, Ind (Nov. 30, 2015)- Federal drug enforcement agents spent  hours inside the Marion Veteran Affairs Medical Center on Monday.

An inspection warrant was filed with the United States District Court for Northern Indiana on behalf of the DEA.

The warrant reveals that the VA in Marion purchased more powerful and addictive prescription pills than any other facility in the northern district. There have been no arrests or allegations of wrongdoing, but the DEA wants to know why the hospital is ordering such large quantities.

The pills in question are the same types of pills that are often sold on the streets illegally and have high rates of drug abuse across the country. In 2014 the VA in Marion was the largest purchaser of hydrocodone, oxycodone, hydromorphone, methadone and morphine.

According to court documents, the hospital bought 832,310 tablets of hydrocodone in 2014.  The VA in Fort Wayne was ranked second, purchasing 441,700.

Through just the first three quarters of 2015, the amount of hydrocodone purchased by the VA has skyrocketed to more than one million pills.

During the same period of time the VA Hospital in Fort Wayne has purchased  915,240 tablets of hydrocodone, which is the second largest amount by any facility in the Northern District of Indiana.

The DEA has never inspected the VA in Marion and according to court documents, doctors and VA employees are the focus of this inspection and not the VA patients.

Doctors at the Marion VA don’t report to “INSPECT,” the statewide database used to hold doctors accountable. Therefore, there are no readily available records of prescribing practices.

According to VA officials, the Marion location treats 26,442 unique patients and the Fort Wayne VA cares for more than 38,000 unique patients.  The same VA representative described the DEA inspection as “routine.”

In 2014,  the Marion VA ordered 638,000 tablets of oxycodone and the VA in Fort Wayne ranked second, purchasing 553,500 tablets.

Through the first three quarters 2015, the VA in Marion purchased 526,000  tablets of oxycodone and the VA in Fort Wayne bought 321,700.

Oxycodone is a Schedule II narcotic and in 2009 it became the most frequently encountered drug by law enforcement according to court documents.

Federal investigators expect to inspect records for several days due to the large quantity of records and the size of the Marion VA Hospital.

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