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Department of Defense Alleges White House Medical Unit Gave Controlled Substance to Ineligible Trump Staffers

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The White House
Source: Wikipedia

The US Department of Defense Office of Inspector General has accused the White House Medical Unit of giving ineligible Trump staffers access to controlled substances. This is according to a new report which analyzed the unit’s 2017 to 2019 records.

Based on their investigation, the department said that it violated “federal law and regulation and DoD policy.” The report also revealed that the unit experienced “severe and systemic problems” when Trump was president.

“The White House Medical Unit dispensed prescription medications, including controlled substances, to ineligible White House staff,” the report read. “Additionally, we found that the White House Medical Unit did not follow DoD guidelines for verifying patient eligibility.” 

For example, sleeping medications, opioids, and other controlled substances were “not properly accounted for.” The department also discovered numerous errors in the unit’s tracking of controlled substances inventory because they used handwritten notes. 

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Furthermore, the unit purchased costlier brand names than the generic brands by very wide margins. It also disposed of substances (controlled and controlled) improperly and dispensed them without confirming patients’ identities. 

According to the report, the medical unit faced these challenges because “White House medical officials did not consider their operations to be a pharmacy. Without oversight from qualified pharmacy staff, the White House medical unit’s pharmaceutical management practices might have been subject to prescribing errors.” “Additionally, the White House medical unit’s practices demonstrated inadequate medication management and increased risk to the health and safety of patients treated within the unit,” the report continued.

The Inspector General’s office commenced its investigation into the medical unit’s operations after receiving several complaints in 2018. If the complaints are anything to go by, a senior military medical officer in the unit was abusing his office. The report did not single out any individual. However, it mentioned that some providers said they were always forced to honor requests from senior unit leaders.

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Republican Congressman, Sgt. Ronny Johnson led the White House Medical Unit from 2009 to 2018 under former presidents Obama and Trump. In 2018, Trump nominated him for the role of Secretary of Veterans Affairs. 

However, Sen. John Tested accused him of dispensing Ambien and Provigil, two controlled sleep-related medications loosely. “In the White House, they call him the ‘candy man,’ Tester had said in an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper. “The word is, that on overseas trips in particular, that the admiral would go down the aisle way of the airplane and say, ‘Who wants to go to sleep?’ and hand out the prescription drugs.” This accusation led to Jackson withdrawing his name.

In 2021, a Pentagon inspector accused Jackson of inappropriate conduct in his office as the top White House physician. According to the inspector, Jackson sexually harassed subordinates and drank on duty. 

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The White House, however, stood solidly behind Jackson, and the physician didn’t face any criminal charges. “Every year they come in and do a review of the White House physician’s office on things like prescriptions, and every year they said that he’s totally in compliance with what he’s prescribing. So, no, it’s totally unfair,” White House Director of Legislative Affairs Marc Short had said.

Meanwhile, the DoD recommended that the White House medical unit collaborate with the director of the Defense Health Agency to adopt procedures for managing all substances. 

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