State Police Creates New Investigative Unit Focusing on Illegally Prescribed Opioids

Contact: D/Lt. Benjamin Garrison, DIU Team Commander, 734-718-6608

The Michigan State Police (MSP) is announcing a new task force, its Diversion Investigation Unit (DIU), which investigates medical professionals suspected of illegally distributing controlled substances.

“We evolve as crime does,” said Col. Joe Gasper, director of the Michigan State Police. “This is a very real and potentially deadly part of the opioid epidemic. Prescribing medically unnecessary controlled substances pushes highly addictive drugs on to our streets impacting public and patient safety.”

Investigations conducted by DIU have resulted in charges for two medical professionals with other cases pending statewide. They are:

  • Remona Brown, N.P., of Lansing charged with one count of conducting a criminal enterprise, one count of conspiracy to manufacture illegal prescriptions, nine counts of manufacturing illegal prescriptions and one count of healthcare fraud.
  • Arduth M. Burgess, D.O., of Mason charged with one count of manufacturing illegal prescriptions, two counts of possessing controlled substances, one count of healthcare fraud and one count of failing to keep records as well as one misdemeanor count of licensee prescription violations.

In June, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed executive order 2019-18 creating the Michigan Opioids Task Force, which brings together leaders from across state government. The collaborative efforts of state agencies amplifies Michigan’s efforts related to prevention and treatment of patients, education of health professionals and enforcement of over-prescribers. Efforts include:

  • A one-stop shop website (Michigan.gov/opioids) with all helpful information and resources on the epidemic.
  • Providing online resources for patients, health professionals and communities about prevention and treatment of opioid abuse;
  • The Michigan Automated Prescription System provides real-time prescription data and resources to better assess a patient’s risk for substance use disorder; 
  • Assistance with proper drug disposal of unwanted medications;
  • Michigan State Police posts serving as drug-take back sites and providing the Angel Program for individuals struggling with addiction.

For more information about opioids and the additional steps residents can take to protect themselves and loved ones, visit michigan.gov/opioids. If you suspect prescription drug diversion by medical professionals, please contact your local MSP Multi-Jurisdictional Drug Task Force.

This project is supported by COPS AHTF award 2018HPWX0007, awarded by the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), and administered by the Michigan State Police (MSP).  Points of view or opinions contained within this document do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the DOJ.