CSKT and U.S. Attorney’s Office reach settlement

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The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes’ pharmacy will pay more than $95,000 in a civil penalty, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

An agreement was reached between CSKT and the U.S. Attorney’s Office, which settles alleged pharmacy violations that ocurred between March 2017 and March 2018, U.S. Attorney Kurt Alme announced.

CSKT will pay $95,520 “and take other steps to ensure compliance with the federal law and Drug Enforcement Administration regulations,” Alme stated.

An investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration was conducted after it learned that approximately 2,500 oxycodone pills were either stolen or unaccounted for from the Tribes’ pharmacy in St. Ignatius.

The press release states that during the investigation, the DEA discovered “significant violations” of federal regulations, including failing to properly track records of controlled substances in the pharmacy as well as failing to report the missing oxycodone pills to the DEA.

Going forward, the pharmacy must conduct annual evaluations of its compliance for three years, and certify to the DEA that it is meeting regulatory requirements.

Should the pharmacy have future violations, it will be subjected to a judgment for a full possible penalty of $240,640.

“This settlement is an important step toward ensuring that opioids are properly controlled in the CSKT Pharmacy,” said Alme. “For the safety of the community, we need to ensure that the pharmacy is managed responsibly in the future. The penalty puts every pharmacy in Montana on notice that the U.S. Attorney’s Office and DEA will vigorously enforce controlled substance regulations to prevent diversion of the prescription opioids that are harming our communities.”

“We appreciate the Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribes taking this issue seriously. It is our hope that this settlement and the tribe’s plan to bring the pharmacy into compliance with the Code of Federal Regulations requirements will prevent future diversion of controlled substances,” said Stacy Zinn-Brittain, DEA regional agent in charge for Montana.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Megan Dishong worked on the settlement agreement. The DEA’s Western Montana Tactical Diversion Squad investigated the case.

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