A whistleblower report submitted to Congress on Friday alleges that the chief medical officer of Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Dr. Alexander Eastman, pressured employees to acquire fentanyl lollipops under the guise of needing them for emergency pain management during the United Nations General Assembly in New York held in September.

According to the complaint, staff members were perplexed by Dr. Eastman’s insistence on obtaining the potent Schedule II narcotics, given the unusual nature of the request, NBC first reported.

Dr. Eastman defended his actions, stating that it was his responsibility to ensure the wellbeing of any injured CBP agents, asserting the lollipops were to be used for critical pain relief situations.

The whistleblowers said in the report that “Eastman spent copious hours of his and Office of the Chief Medical Officer staff time directing the OCMO staff to urgently help him procure fentanyl lollipops, a Schedule II narcotic, so that he could bring them on the CBP Air and Marine Operations helicopter on which he would be a passenger in New York City.”

“Dr. Eastman claims that his possession of fentanyl lollipops was necessary in case a CBP operator might be injured, or in case the CBP Air and Marine Operations team encountered a patient in need.”

Customs and Border Protection, tasked with preventing the illicit trafficking of drugs like fentanyl, is now facing questions about its own practices.

NBC reported:

Eastman’s staff initially responded to his request by explaining that Narcan, which can save the lives of those who overdose on fentanyl, has been requested for CBP operations in the past, but not fentanyl itself. The whistleblowers say staff members raised questions about how he would store the lollipops and what he would do with unused fentanyl at the end of the operation, according to the report.

Eastman responded by writing his own policy regarding procurement of Schedule II narcotics, which omitted any mention of how narcotics were to be stored and disposed of, the whistleblowers allege.

Eastman was ultimately unsuccessful in procuring fentanyl lollipops, because a vendor could not be found in time for the U.N. General Assembly.

It was unusual for the medical officer of CBP to attend the General Assembly, a meeting of diplomats and heads of state to discuss international issues, but Eastman made the argument to his staff that his presence was needed because CBP’s Air and Marine Operations division was helping the Secret Service with security.

The whistleblowers, represented by the nonprofit Government Accountability Project, also allege Eastman was under investigation by CBP’s Office of Professional Responsibility at the time regarding improper ordering and securing of narcotics for a friend who is a pilot for Air and Marine Operations. The friend worked as a helicopter pilot for Air and Marine Operations in New York during the General Assembly, the report says.

A CBP spokesperson, responding to these allegations, told NBC News: “CBP takes all allegations of misconduct seriously. This matter has been referred to the CBP Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) for review. Consistent with our commitment to transparency and accountability, we will provide updates as they are available.”

Who is Dr. Alexander Eastman?

Eastman assumed the role of acting chief medical officer in June 2023 amidst a sudden shift in medical leadership prompted by the tragic passing of an 8-year-old girl while in CBP custody.

More from National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund:

Dr. Eastman is the Senior Medical Officer at the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Office (CWMD). In this role, he is responsible for operational medicine across DHS in addition to countering threats to the United States worldwide. Dr. Eastman is a Task Force Officer with ICE Homeland Security Investigations and is assigned to the Special Response Team (SRT) program.

Dr. Eastman is also a Dallas Police Department lieutenant, the Chief Medical Officer of the Dallas Police Department, and the Lead Medical Officer for the Dallas Police SWAT Team. He is actively involved in national planning for law enforcement medical support through the Department of Justice’s Officer Safety and Wellness Group, the Committee on Tactical Emergency Casualty Care, the Hartford Consensus Working Group and serves as the Medical Advisor for the Major Cities Chiefs Association.

Formerly, Dr. Eastman served as the Chief of the Rees-Jones Trauma Center at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas, TX. He was also an Assistant Professor and trauma surgeon in the Division of Burns, Trauma and Critical Care at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and continues to be a practicing trauma surgeon.

Dr. Eastman was recently awarded the Dallas Police Department Medal of Valor for actions taken during the July 7, 2016 police ambush and has been previously honored as an Outstanding Young Alumni (2014) from The University of Texas at Austin, the Joe C. Jones Reserve Officer of the Year (2013) and Officer of the Year (2014) from the Dallas Police Department and Dallas Police Association.


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