Boeing Drug Bust Shows Alarming Spread of Prescription Pill Epidemic

Three dozen former and current Boeing employees were arrested Thursday for illicitly peddling prescription pills. Cases like this one show the challenges for law enforcement in dealing with the epidemic.

The law enforcement action at the Delaware County plant near Philadelphia yielded 36 arrests, including a former union president, the FBI said. Fourteen suspects were charged with misdemeanor possession of fewer than 10 pills, while 23 people were charged with trafficking penalties for selling up to 1,500 doses.

The sale of prescription pills, the FBI noted, has become a major focus of its investigations across the country. “These sales placed the individual abusers, as well as society at large, at risk,” said Vito S. Guarino, DEA acting special agent in charge.

The raid also highlighted how many middle-class workers at a major defense contractor were willing to chance their careers by becoming black marketeers. And it put into question Boeing’s employee drug-testing procedures. The company said that it has a policy of “no tolerance of drugs or alcohol on Boeing property or consumption or sale on-premises” and that it drug tests workers if there’s suspicion of drug use.