DEA official: Jackson may have broken the law by handing out Ambien

DEA official: Jackson may have broken the law by handing out Ambien
© UPI Photo

An official from the Drug Enforcement Administration says Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson may have broken the law if the allegations that he handed out Ambien on planes are true.

Sen. Jon TesterJonathan (Jon) TesterNative American advocates question 2020 Democrats' commitment House Democrats targeting six more Trump districts for 2020 Budget deal sparks scramble to prevent shutdown MORE (D-Mont.) said earlier this week that Jackson, President TrumpDonald John TrumpThe Hill's Campaign Report: Democratic field begins to shrink ahead of critical stretch To ward off recession, Trump should keep his mouth and smartphone shut Trump: 'Who is our bigger enemy,' Fed chief or Chinese leader? MORE’s pick to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), was nicknamed “the candy man” because he would hand out prescription drugs on planes.

“In overseas trips, in particular, the admiral would go down the [aisle] of the airplane and say, 'All right, who wants to go to sleep?' and hand out the prescription drugs like they were candy,” Tester said.

“You could be prosecuted,” a spokesman for the agency told The New York Times, saying that giving out the drug in that manner would violate the Controlled Substances Act.

ADVERTISEMENT

Jackson, White House doctor under both Presidents Obama and Trump, withdrew his nomination for VA secretary on Thursday after facing a series of allegations related to his conduct, including accusations of drinking on the job and crashing a government vehicle while drunk.

In his statement, Jackson said that the allegations against him were “false and fabricated.”

Current and former employees in the White House medical unit said that the allegations mirror the culture of Jackson’s office dating back to the Obama administration.

Sources told CNN that Jackson’s office operated like a “grab and go” clinic, saying that there was “loose control” of medications, and that officials and staffers could obtain medication without basic medical consultation.

One source told CNN that Jackson was “directing people” in the office to hand out prescriptions to people, even those for whom the prescription was not intended.

“They'd come in and say, 'Hey, can I have an Ambien?' And we would just hand them out. Without having to sign a thing," said one source. "We all had a huge problem with it."