Doctor gave 'high doses' of opioids to rehab patients who fatally overdosed, feds say

  • In US
  • 2023-01-25 23:32:54Z
  • By Miami Herald

A doctor in Maryland prescribed large doses of opioids to rehab patients who overdosed and died, according to federal officials in Maryland.

The doctor, an 84-year-old resident of Towson, was the medical director and part owner of a rehab and pain management center with an office in Towson, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney for Maryland.

He held the philosophy that the patient was always right and regularly prescribed "high doses" of oxycodone and other opioids despite a number of red flags, officials said, citing his guilty plea.

An attorney for the doctor could not immediately be reached for comment by McClatchy News.

Patients who routinely failed urine tests - tests which revealed traces of heroin and cocaine - were given prescriptions, officials said.

On one occasion, he ordered large doses of oxycodone and clonazepam for a patient who had tested positive for cocaine eight times and had lost custody of her children because of drug use, officials said.

Additionally, patients were seen "nodding out" in the waiting room, and there were reports of drug transactions occurring in the practice's parking lot, officials said.

Multiple pharmacies refused to fill orders from the doctor's practice because of the large quantities of drugs being prescribed, officials said.

Eventually, officials said some of the practice's patients overdosed and died. Still, the doctor did not make changes to his prescription regimen, officials said.

The doctor later "admitted that he issued prescriptions to some patients outside the bounds of the usual medical practice and not for a legitimate medical purpose," officials said.

He pleaded guilty to a conspiracy to distribute and dispense oxycodone in June 2022, according to WBAL.

"I took patients other doctors rejected," he said, according to WBAL. "I'm very sorry for any pain that may have occurred."

He was sentenced Jan. 24 to four months of home detention, which is part of an 18-month probation term, followed by three years of supervised release, officials said.

Two of the practice's other employees, a doctor and a physician's assistant, previously pleaded guilty to similar charges.

Towson is about 15 miles northeast of Baltimore.

If you or a loved one shows signs of substance use disorder, you can seek help by calling the national hotline at 1-800-662-4357 or find treatment using SAMHSA's online locator.

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