Federal prosecutors charged 60 physicians and pharmacists Wednesday with illegally handing out opioid prescriptions in what they say is the biggest crackdown of its kind in U.S. history.
A special strike force from the U.S. Department of Justice, which led the investigation, began making arrests in five states early Wednesday.
Most of the defendants face charges of unlawful distribution of controlled substances involving prescription opioids. Authorities say they gave out about 350,000 prescriptions, totaling more than 32 million pills, in Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, West Virginia and Alabama.
Prosecutors say those charged behaved more like drug dealers than medical professionals.