Ohio Doctor Accused of Over Prescribing Painkillers
An Ohio doctor and two others have been accused of illegally distributing painkillers and other drugs resulting in the deaths of 14 people.
Dr. Paul Volkman, along with Denise Huffman and her daughter Alice Huffman Ball, were recently arrested for distributing more that 1.5 million pain pills between 2001 and 2006. All three worked together out of Southern Ohio clinics, shelling out the addictive painkiller OxyContin and other drugs to patients.
Volkman is suspected of writing prescriptions for patients who did not need painkillers. Pharmacists became skeptical and eventually refused to keep filling the prescriptions.
However, the team of three went on to open their own drug dispensary center within one of the pain clinics. The indictment claims that Dr.Volkman would give his patients a physical exam and charge them up to $200 per visit before writing them a prescription for the painkillers.
According to the indictment, the 14 deaths that occurred during this time were due to the overuse of drugs—or “multiple drug intoxication”—prescribed by Volkman. Some patients claim that the doctor and his partners were fully aware of the potential for abuse and therefore made them sign a “death waiver” to acknowledge the risk that was involved in overusing the substances.
Many of Dr. Volkman’s patients were known drug addicts who traveled more that 400 miles to receive the pills, said Fred Alverson, spokesman with the U.S. attorney’s office in Columbus.
The conspiracy is suspected to have helped feed the high demand for Oxycontin that was so prevalent during these years in Ohio, Kentucky, West Virginia and Tennessee, claim authorities.
All three defendants face charges for distributing a controlled substance that results in death, a charge that carries a maximum sentence of life in prison. Prosecutors are also seeking $3.1 million from Dr. Volkman and his partners.
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