(WLUK) -- Dozens of medical professionals across Wisconsin received warnings from U.S. attorneys on prescribing opioids to patients.
The U.S. Attorney's offices of the eastern and western districts of Wisconsin say they sent letters to more than 180 physicians, physician assistants and nurse practitioners.
The letters informed them that a review of their practices showed they were prescribing opioids at relatively high levels compared to other prescribers.
The letters go on to say although the prescriptions may be medically appropriate, they also may be contributing to the flow of prescription opioids into illegal markets and fueling addictions. Prescribing opioids without a legitimate medical purpose could result in criminal prosecution, the letters warn.
Officials say the letters are part of a broader federal and state effort to reduce the number of people becoming addicted to opioids.
“We know that for many, addiction began with opioids prescribed by a medical professional,” said U.S. Attorney Matthew Krueger. “By sending these letters, we are asking medical professionals to join the fight against addiction and ensure they prescribe no more opioids than are necessary.”
According to the DOJ, drug overdoses are the leading cause of death for people under the age of 50 in the U.S. In 2017, 916 people died of opioid overdoses in Wisconsin. Last year, more than 130 people died each day in the U.S. due to a drug overdose.
Officials say they will not release the names of practitioners who received letters.