The United States Department of Justice announced on January 21, 2022 that a former nurse practitioner and clinic owner was sentenced in the Eastern District of Tennessee to 168 months in prison and $700 in special assessments, followed by three years of supervised released, for illegally distributing prescription opioid pills to his patients.
On September 1, 2021, following a three-day trial in the United States District Court at Chattanooga, a jury convicted Mark Daniel Allen, 64, formerly of Manchester, Tennessee, of unlawfully distributing prescription opioids to patients at a clinic he owned in Manchester, Tennessee. According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, Allen was a nurse practitioner who distributed oxycodone not for a legitimate medical purpose outside the course of professional practice and used his clinic for unlawful drug distribution. Specifically, the evidence showed that through his clinic, Volunteer Family Medical, he wrote controlled substance prescriptions for more than 15,000 pills to three women with whom he had sexual relationships, and a male patient who later passed away. Allen was convicted of one count of maintaining a drug-involved premises and six counts of unlawful distribution of a controlled substance outside the scope of professional practice. Following the jury’s verdict, Allen was taken into custody pending his sentencing.
In 2019, nearly 50,000 people in the United States died from opioid-involved overdoses. The misuse of and addiction to opioids—including prescription pain relievers, heroin, and synthetic opioids such as fentanyl—is a serious national crisis that affects public health as well as social and economic welfare. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that the total “economic burden” of prescription opioid misuse alone in the United States is $78.5 billion a year, including the costs of healthcare, lost productivity, addiction treatment, and criminal justice involvement. Roughly 21 to 29 percent of patients prescribed opioids for chronic pain misuse them. Between 8 and 12 percent of people using an opioid for chronic pain develop an opioid use disorder. An estimated 4 to 6 percent who misuse prescription opioids transition to heroin. About 80 percent of people who use heroin first misused prescription opioids. Among 38 states with prescription opioid overdose death data, 17 states saw a decline between 2017-2018; none experienced a significant increase. The likelihood of developing an opioid use disorder depends on many factors, including length of time a person is prescribed to take opioids for acute pain, and length of time that people continue taking opioids (whether as prescribed, or misused).
If you or a loved one suffered injuries (or worse) as a result of a bad drug/defective drug in the United States, you should promptly seek the legal advice of a pharmaceutical claim lawyer in your state who may investigate your drug claim for you and represent you in a claim against a pharmaceutical company, if appropriate.
If your medical provider prescribed inappropriate or harmful opioids to you or a loved one, you should seek to find a local medical malpractice lawyer to assist you in investigating your possible medical malpractice claim.
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