When you open the newspaper or check out your local news on your computer, you are likely to read about some type of crimes associated with the opiate epidemic. What is getting the most attention presently is the ridiculous amount of heroin overdoses taking the lives of our citizens. To those who have never been affected by drugs and have never lost a friend or family member to the problem will most likely have a different view on the subject. Many think that the addicts did it to themselves and that they should just stop using drugs if they do not want to die. It is not that simple of course and educating the public is essential to curbing the opiate epidemic.
The Attorney General Of Virginia is making some noise by announcing that he is fed up with medical professionals that are doing illegal things to sell or obtain opiates. He and lawyers in his office are aggressively pursuing action against pharmacists, doctors, or other health professionals who over-prescribe, steal or otherwise illegally make opiates available.
“These individuals violated their professional duties and put the public, their patients, and sometimes themselves at risk by making prescription opiates available illegally,” said Attorney General Herring. “We will take aggressive action against anyone whose reckless behavior makes it easier to access opiates.”
In recent weeks, several healthcare professionals have had their credentials suspended or revoked after the Office of Attorney General presented evidence to the relevant professional regulatory board that these individuals were making opiates available illegally. Here are some of those cases.
A medical doctor by the name of John M. Stauffer had his license suspended September 10, 2014. Dr. Stauffer had a romantic relationship with a patient who was later found unresponsive in her apartment and admitted to a hospital for treatment of substance withdrawal. During the course of treatment, the patient disclosed and Stauffer subsequently admitted to the relationship. Further investigation revealed that Stauffer prescribed a series of drugs including Wellbutrin, Xanax, Ritalin and Oxycodone without requesting any medical records or performing any diagnostic examinations. In 2012, he began prescribing hydrocodone, with no evidence of its necessity, in addition to the other medications.
A Pharmacy Techinician by the name of Amelia Cumberland entered into a Consent Order with the Board for the revocation of her registration to practice as a pharmacy technician in the Commonwealth of Virginia on September 5, 2014. Young’s registration had previously been summarily suspended after a presentation of evidence by the Attorney General’s office. Young admitted that during the course of her work as a pharmacy technician in Amelia and Cumberland between October 2013 and May 2014, she diverted an unknown quantity of Hydrocodone tablets, a Schedule III controlled substance, and an unknown quantity of liquid Hydrocodone/Chlorpheniramine, a Schedule III controlled substance for her personal and unauthorized use and for distribution to another individual for sale to other persons.
Medical professionals who take an oath to put our health first and protect their patients should be ashamed of the choices they make that hurt themselves and their patients. There are plenty of dirty doctors in America that provide prescriptions for cash but they are not the majority. The majority of medical doctors do their jobs to best of their ability and truly care for their patients well-being. It is sad to see professionals ruin their careers over greed. If you know of a doctor that is illegally prescribing narcotic painkillers, contact your local police department.