State police forms new opioid investigations unit

    Michigan State Police | Susan J. Demas

    The Michigan State Police (MSP) on Wednesday announced a new task force investigating medical professionals suspected of illegally distributing controlled substances.

    MSP Col. Joseph Gasper | Casey Hull

    The Diversion Investigation Unit (DIU) has charged two medical professionals:

    • Remona Brown, N.P., of Lansing: 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 health care fraud.
    • Arduth M. Burgess, D.O., of Mason: One count of manufacturing illegal prescriptions, two counts of possessing controlled substances, one count of health care fraud and one count of failing to keep records and one misdemeanor count of licensee prescription violations.

    “We evolve as crime does,” said MSP Director Col. Joe Gasper. “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.”

    Whitmer creates opiods task force

    In June, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer created the Michigan Opioids Task Force chaired by Michigan Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun.

    Susan J. Demas is a 19-year journalism veteran and one of the state’s foremost experts on Michigan politics, appearing on MSNBC, CNN, NPR and WKAR-TV’s “Off the Record.” In addition to serving as Editor-in-Chief, she is the Advance’s chief columnist, writing on women, LGBTQs, the state budget, the economy and more. Most recently, she served as Vice President of Farough & Associates, Michigan’s premier political communications firm. For almost five years, Susan was the Editor and Publisher of Inside Michigan Politics, the most-cited political newsletter in the state. Susan’s award-winning political analysis has run in more than 80 national, international and regional media outlets, including the Guardian U.K., NBC News, the New York Times, the Detroit News and MLive. She is the only Michigan journalist to be named to the Washington Post’s list of “Best Political Reporters,” the Huffington Post’s list of “Best Political Tweeters” and the Washington Post’s list of “Best Political Bloggers.” Susan was the recipient of a prestigious Knight Foundation fellowship in nonprofits and politics. She served as Deputy Editor for MIRS News and helped launch the Michigan Truth Squad, the Center for Michigan’s fact-checking project. She started her journalism career reporting on the Iowa caucuses for The (Cedar Rapids) Gazette. Susan has hiked over 3,000 solo miles across four continents and climbed more than 60 mountains. She also enjoys dragging her husband and two teenagers along, even if no one else wants to sleep in a tent anymore.