When you picture a drug dealer, what is the image that you have in mind? Does it look like a cop, a pharmacist, or how about a doctor? With the growing epidemic of prescription drug abuse, law enforcement is cracking down hard on all parties – including doctors.
Michigan’s Attorney General Bill Schuette stated in a report from CBS,
“Prescription drug abuse is an epidemic in Michigan and across the country. Addressing this problem requires a multi-faceted approach—including aggressive law enforcement focused on trafficking. Addiction destroys lives. The people who supply these strong and potentially lethal drugs need to be stopped.”
This issue of illegal prescription drug selling hit the headlines again this week. The people behind the selling and operating a large scale illegal prescription drug organization are three Metro Detroit doctors. Seven other individuals were also charged in relation to the doctors.
The U.S. Attorney’s office in Detroit unsealed a superseding indictment charges on Wednesday, March 9th. According to the Detroit Free Press, the three doctors are: Dr. Boris Zigmond, 50, of West Bloomfield Township, Dr. Jennifer Franklin, 39, of Harrison Township and Dr. Carolos Godoy, 78, of Farmington Hills. There were also seven other people involved and arrested.
Zigmond is the alleged leader of this large organization. From 2013 – 2015 they made a gross income of about 5.7 million dollars from selling about $1 million in pills. The operation was extensive and thought through. According to the Detroit Free Press, the prosecution alleged that Zigmond set up a false practice, having false patients, where the three doctors would prescribe the medications.
According to the Detroit Free Press, US Attorney Barbara McQuade said, “We are focusing on charging doctors, pharmacists and the networks that are putting this poison on the streets.” This led to many doctors being at the center of an investigation.
In fact, many doctors are practicing in fear and worry. While in the case of the three doctors, the operation is pretty explicit in these doctors’ intent. However, many other doctors might not realize the full extent of what they are doing.
The Naive Drug Dealer
For example, in February, Hsiu-Ying Tseng, a doctor from Los Angeles, was sentenced to 30 years to life in prison. Her crime was writing an extreme amount of prescriptions for pain medication, specifically Vicodin and Oxycodone which was proven to cause the deaths of three of her patients. According to USA Today, Tseng’s lawyer said, she had been naive to prescribe so many medications and not think her patients would abuse them.
Tseng is not the only doctor that might have wrongly prescribed pain medication to patients. Patients whom have found themselves addicted might jump from doctor to doctor giving false information in order to obtain more prescriptions. Doctors have to be extremely careful every single time they prescribe medications.
I have hit on the topic of drug trafficking several times as it continues to be a relevant issue that has found many people, even respectful doctors, at the center of an investigation. I shared about the consequence of drug trafficking in relation to prescription drugs. I also explored the issues of traffic drugs across state boards and what that means for those in Michigan.
The issue of illegal prescription drug is complex and involved. If you are a doctor and fear you might be charged or you have found yourself being investigation for a crime related to illegal prescription drugs, you need to have strong legal representation now. Please call today.
248-348-7400 or 586-530-1000