Monday, February 20, 2012
As officials work hard to stem the tide of prescription drug abuse in America they are now prosecuting doctors whose methods have lead to the deaths of their patients. This new method to discourage doctors from operating pill mills and providing medication to people who clearly have an addiction problem may be a result of the controversial death of Michael Jackson. Last Tuesday, a federal judge in Ohio sentenced Illinois doctor Paul H. Volkman to four life terms in prison for the drug overdose deaths of four of his patients.
Federal prosecutors say Volkman dispensed more of the painkiller oxycodone from 2003 to 2005 than any other physician in the country. Volkman made weekly trips from Chicago to three different locations in Ohio to dispense prescription narcotics before federal investigators stopped the operation in 2006.
"Volkman was the physician at the center of a criminal scheme to distribute millions of controlled substances to hundreds of individuals in exchange for cash - a scheme that brought addiction, diversion and death to southeastern Ohio and beyond," Assistant U.S. Attorneys Tim Oakley and Adam Wright wrote in a sentencing memorandum filed with the court.
The US Attorney's Office in southern Ohio said in a news release that, "Evidence presented during the trial showed that Volkman prescribed and dispensed millions of dosages of various drugs including diazepam, hydrocodone, oxycodone, alprazolam and carisoprodol."
U.S. District Court Judge Sandra Beckwith made a big step in the fight against prescription drug abuse and this will hopefully discourage the countless other doctors conducting the same type of illegal practices.