INDIANAPOLIS – A man is behind bars after illegally acquiring more than 800 oxycodone pills.
Joseph DePalma is accused of stealing prescriptions from a doctor in Illinois electronically and using aliases to fill them across Marion County.
“He was stealing the prescription from the doctor, he was having them filled in fictitious names for people and then he was acquired himself,” said Mike Gannon with the DEA.
DePalma hit 14 different CVS locations across Marion County in total, authorities said. Each time he received 60 oxycodone pills, for a grand total of 840.
“With the electronic system, it was supposed to thwart a lot of that because in the past people are able to alter prescription pads and do other things,” said Gannon.
Investigators did not state DePalma’s intentions with the pills but said that amount of oxycodone could have had serious ripple effects.
“These pharmaceutical fraud thefts have different impacts,” IMPD PIO Shane Foley said. “People can use them for their own overdoses, and they sell the prescriptions which aren’t really prescriptions.”
Gannon added how prevalent the issue is.
“For last year alone DEA and our partners, we seized 50 million fake pills that were reported to be prescription pills that contained deadly fentanyl,” said Gannon.
Gannon said out of those 50 million seized, 60% contained a potentially fatal dose of fentanyl.
“For 2021 statistics, over 107,000 people died of a drug overdose and to break that down in a small perspective that’s 300 Americans a day,” said Gannon.
There were 825 overdose deaths in Marion County that same year, and 641 of them were related to opioids.
Gannon said that is why it is important to get people off the streets who could potentially alter medications.
“We need to get people like that off the street and be held accountable for their actions because way too many Americans have died of a drug overdose,” said Gannon.
DePalma is being held on a $100,000 bond. According to court documents, his initial hearing will be at 9 a.m. on March 10.