Alabama medical professionals face charges in multi-state opioid takedown

Doctors in Alabama knowingly prescribed opioids to drug addicts, recruited prostitutes to become patients and signed blank prescription forms for staffers to fill out, federal authorities said Wednesday.

Four doctors were charged in Alabama in five different cases that were part of a larger operation in five states. The Appalachian Regional Prescription Opioid Strike Force operation resulted in charges against 31 doctors, seven pharmacists, eight nurse practitioners, seven other licensed medical professionals and seven other people.

In one Alabama case, prosecutors said a doctor at one clinic prescribed high dosages and dangerous combinations of opioids. Sometimes the prescriptions were given despite knowing patients failed drug screens and were addicts, prosecutors said. In that case, cash payments were preferred and the clinic charged a “concierge fee” that ranged from $50 a visit to $600 a year.

In another Alabama case, authorities said a doctor recruited prostitutes and other young women with whom he had sexual relationships to become patients at his clinic. The doctor also allowed the women and their friends to abuse drugs at his house, authorities said.

Another case in the state concerns a doctor who prosecutors said dispensed controlled substances and prescription drugs directly from her clinic. The doctor would prescribe excessive amounts of drugs to the same patients several times a month, resulting in as many as 15 pills per day for some patients, according to authorities. The doctor also is accused of signing blank prescription forms so her staff could complete prescriptions while she was not at the clinic.

Federal authorities did not immediately provide information on specific people that were charged as part of the operation.

This is a developing story. WHNT News 19 is gathering more information about the case. Check back soon for updates.

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