DEA: N.H. Received 280 Million Opioid Pills Over Six Years

Jul 24, 2019

Credit CHARLES WILLIAMS / FLICKR/CC

The Washington Post has released data obtained by the Drug Enforcement Administration that is painting a clearer picture of the prevalence of opioid drug use in New Hampshire.

According to the data, 280 million oxycodone and hydrocodone pills were supplied to the state between 2006 and 2012. That’s about 36 pills per person, per year.

Omnicare of New Hampshire, a long-term care pharmacy in Londonderry owned by CVS, received over 5 million of those prescription painkillers, more than any other pharmacy in the state.

"Omnicare pharmacies generally only fill prescriptions for these large institutional clients that provide regular, on-site medical care visits," Omnicare said in an emailed statement in NHPR. "While we have taken numerous actions to strengthen our existing safeguards to help address the nation’s opioid epidemic,  it is important to keep in mind that doctors have the primary responsibility to make sure the opioid prescriptions they write are for a legitimate purpose."

Thomas Tombarello is a commissioner for Rockingham County, where Londonderry is located. Rockingham is one of several other counties, cities and towns suing a number of opioid manufacturers like Purdue Pharma, one of New Hampshire’s top manufacturers.

“We knew that they were coming, but not in these numbers,” Tombarello said. He added that a recent five-year study conducted by Rockingham reveals that the opioid crisis will cost “tens of millions of dollars” to that county alone.

The New Hampshire Attorney General’s office has had access to the DEA data since 2015. It has filed lawsuits against major manufacturers and distributors in the state, but none toward any pharmacies.

“This is an investigation that has been going on for a long time. We’ve brought complaints, we continue to investigate vigorously, we’ll continue to look at the conduct and then bring actions if that’s appropriate,” Associate Attorney General James Boffetti said.

Boffetti said he couldn’t specify which companies in particular the AG's office is keeping an eye on.