April 17, 2019

"In one case... prosecutors said, patients consented to having their teeth pulled so they could obtain opioid prescriptions from a dentist..."

"In a number of cases, according to the indictments, doctors across the region traded prescriptions for oxycodone and hydrocodone for sexual favors."

From "Doctors in five states charged with prescribing pain killers for cash, sex" (WaPo).
The 60 people indicted include 31 doctors, seven pharmacists, eight nurse practitioners and seven other licensed medical professionals. The charges involve more than 350,000 illegal prescriptions written in Kentucky, Ohio, Tennessee, Alabama and West Virginia, according to indictments unsealed in federal court in Cincinnati.

“That is the equivalent of one opioid dose for every man, woman and child in the five states in the region that we’ve been targeting,” Brian Benczkowski, an assistant attorney general in charge of the Justice Department’s criminal division, said in an interview. “If these medical professionals behave like drug dealers, you can rest assured that the Justice Department is going to treat them like drug dealers.”...
On the front page, the teaser is "Doctors in five Appalachian states charged with prescribing opioids for cash, sex," and at first I thought the "Appalachia" specificity was WaPo's distancing its readers from the deplorables, but, in fact, the stress on Appalachia comes from the Justice Department:
Benczkowski said he created the Appalachian Regional Prescription Opioid Strike Force late last year to target the region, which has been devastated by the epidemic. The department analyzed several databases to identify suspicious prescribing activity and sent 14 prosecutors to 11 federal districts there.

“The opioid epidemic is the deadliest drug crisis in American history, and Appalachia has suffered the consequences more than perhaps any other region,” Attorney General William P. Barr said in a statement.

34 comments:

CJinPA said...

“The opioid epidemic is the deadliest drug crisis in American history, and Appalachia has suffered the consequences more than perhaps any other region,” Attorney General William P. Barr said in a statement.

This is true, but it's getting push-back from activists who don't like the wrong victims moving in on their turf.

mccullough said...

Dr. Feelgood

mockturtle said...

When I had a tooth pulled my dentist suggested ibuprofen. It's unusual now for opioids to be prescribed for post-dental procedures.

Kevin said...

From "Doctors in five states charged with prescribing pain killers for cash, sex"

The sex looks like an add-on because cash wasn't sexy enough. Maybe they've found it works and will start adding it on to everything not sufficiently click-baity.

Trump has two scoops of ice cream, sex, for dessert.
Harris promises free healthcare, sex.
Notre Dame fire not caused by arson, sex, authorities say.
Yelich hits for cycle, sex, to begin homestead.

Kevin said...

Aren't most of these teeth on a path to falling out on their own?

Ann Althouse said...

"When I had a tooth pulled my dentist suggested ibuprofen. It's unusual now for opioids to be prescribed for post-dental procedures."

Me too, just a couple weeks ago.

I assume some patients ask for a prescription for something stronger, but the better practice is not to offer.

I barely needed the ibuprofen and could have got by without it. You have the novocaine to cover you through the first part of the pain. After that, does it really hurt enough to need anything?

Imagine getting teeth that don't need to be pulled taken out just to get a lousy prescription! How good would that even be if you were an addict? It wouldn't last very long. Do you keep going back until you've sacrificed all your teeth? You must know it's idiotic but you're doing it anyway, because that's how drugs prioritized themselves in your brain. How awful for dentists to go along with this! Imagine being the dentist who pulls out a good tooth to cover for issuing one prescription. How many teeth would you need to pull in this scheme for it to be a tempting way to make money? It's absolutely insane.

Ann Althouse said...

What kind of doctor would be tempted to throw his professional status away to get sex from a desperate drug addict? How is that even sex you'd want to have? It's worth less than nothing.

Anthony said...

Libertarians hardest hit.

I had a couple of wisdom teeth pulled that needed Tylenol with codeine. And one orthodontic procedure. Ibuprofen didn't cut it in those cases.

SeanF said...

When I had my wisdom teeth out, my dentist recommended taking one ibuprofen and one acetaminophen.

iowan2 said...

Imagine getting teeth that don't need to be pulled taken out just to get a lousy prescription! How good would that even be if you were an addict

Addicts are a woven cloth of physical addiction, emotional, and psychological dependence, underlain with various moral and character defects. A raw inability to be honest with self, which drives the ability to rationalize any action imaginable. Even when they feel worse after succeeding in getting everything they wanted,(pull the teeth, get the drugs) they will turn around and do the same or worse again. Negative consequences have no affect.

Yancey Ward said...

I had 8 teeth removed as a teenager in two sets of four- premolars pulled to make actual room for the rest of my teeth prior to getting braces, and all four wisdom teeth surgically removed after the braces came off because the teeth were coming in sideways. I only got what was probably ibuprofen, or could have been aspirin. The pulled teeth didn't really cause much pain afterwards, except when I was trying to eat. The wisdom teeth removal hurt more afterwards, but a lot that was due to the much larger amount of swelling in my jaw area.

Oxycodone does seem to be a common prescription for dental work in this area of Tennessee- my father got the prescription for every root canal done over the years I took him to for the procedures, even though he didn't ask for it, and never took any of it.

Yancey Ward said...

Addicts don't have the ability to align actions with consequences properly. The way they look at it is that they have 32 teeth, so getting the first X number pulled can't truly be a problem for a while. Then having the rest pulled also can't be a problem because having 32-X is already a problem that can't possibly get worse.

Michael K said...

This story is so bizarre that I cannot believe it. The doctors fall into a group that has been around for many years.

About 35 years ago, there was an old GP whose office was in downtown San Juan Capistrano, across the street from a famous old restaurant building, called El Adobe. Every morning before 6 there would be a long line of kids waiting to see him for their drugs. That went on for several years before he got busted.

Pulling teeth is really weird. We used to see addicts in ERs who would simulate kidney stone pain and even prick a finger to add a drop of blood to a urine sample.

gahrie said...

Bring back laudanum.

Fernandistein said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Fernandistein said...

In Tennessee, a doctor who branded himself the “Rock Doc,”

They can't even get that right.

"Young, 43, a Tennessee nurse practitioner who called himself 'Rock Doc' and once piloted a reality show about his Jackson clinic, was indicted with federal drug trafficking charges this week, accused of trading drugs for sex."

He looks a bit like Jordan Peterson.

Infinite Monkeys said...

You must know it's idiotic but you're doing it anyway, because that's how drugs prioritized themselves in your brain.

Or someone is coercing you to go to get it for them. I wouldn't be surprised if someone used a spouse or children for this.

Anonymous said...

Call me callous, but I've known some overdosers, and though the sample is small, I didn't find them very mournable. This is just another moral panic which the power-hungry (talk about addiction!) can use to strut their virtue and concern for others.

And what is it with the Libertarian digs? Are Libertarians the cause of the "crisis"?

Narr
democrat, republican, libertarian

Fernandistein said...

After surgery for a detached retina they gave me 25 some-sort-of- opiate pills, and took half of one at the time (although going over a mountain pass just afterwards it felt like my head might explode). The rest lasted for two or three years, "as needed".

Rockeye said...

I wonder how many of those providers were addicts, too. That is the kind of foolishness addicts do, illegal prescriptions to other addicts who will have every incentive to turn on you later when they get into a pinch with the law. Also, I notice, no arrests mentioned for the recipients.

hawkeyedjb said...

When I had a knee replaced a few years ago, I got a 30-day supply of Oxy. I still have a 29-day supply. A friend told me how much that stuff would be worth on the street. Holy Cow! Lucky for me, I don't have the pain and don't need the money...

Fernandistein said...

Are Libertarians the cause of the "crisis"?

Of course not, it's the drug warriors.

Speaking of which, we just binged on "Breaking Bad" and "Hank" the DEA creep did a very good imitation of a guy getting out-of-control-high on self-righteous outrage.

Anonymous said...

What would happen if a lethal overdose of Fentanyl was provided in drugs provided free to addicts, with the warning that taking the drug would kill them, absolutely and without any question, while offering public health treatments for addiction if they don't take the drugs? I'm asking because that seems more "freedom of choice" than the way Mao got rid of heroin addicts in the early days of his Chinese government, which was immediate public execution of all who sold or used heroin.

Or did I misunderstand the issue? Isn't it how to eliminate addiction in our society? Or are you wondering how the government can mulct more money from those who have it?

mockturtle said...

Said it before and will say it again: For their sake and for the sake of society addicts need to be locked up against their will and given drug treatment. Not in jail but in rehab facilities [or concentration camps]. The crime problems and the homeless problems would be radically reduced overnight.

Tomcc said...

When I was 20, I had four impacted wisdom teeth pulled. I was given several percocet to deal with the post-op pain. I recall that I took two and then had a couple of beers. I felt good enough to chew through a saddle...

Anonymous said...

As an undergrad from 1971 - 1976, I am no stranger to drugs of all prescriptions, their users and abusers, and dabbled some myself. Mostly drank beer and smoked pot (hash once in a while), while many friends and family cheerfully and for the most part safely did all manner of substances; found no pleasure in either downers or uppers so one and done with those; scared of psychedelics so none of that.

I'm all for RX painkillers now, when I have pain, but like others here I may take a day or two of a week's prescrip and the rest is unused.

There was a well-known hippie commune in my state whose leader was a combat veteran (wanna say SEA) who was asked to comment on draft-dodger Clinton's famous "I never inhaled" remark: he said, "I never exhaled!"

Narr
Bully for hippies!

iowan2 said...

mockturtle said...
Said it before and will say it again: For their sake and for the sake of society addicts need to be locked up against their will and given drug treatment. Not in jail but in rehab facilities [or concentration camps]. The crime problems and the homeless problems would be radically reduced overnight.


Just look them up forever? Addiction is just one manifestation of the problem. Relapse, especially from those forced, is probably 99%. We've been through this, judges said we cant lock them up.

Howard said...

These Trumper addicts just want free stuff. They need free market social Darwinism so that we can get them out of the gene pool ASAP.

bagoh20 said...

"What kind of doctor would be tempted to throw his professional status away to get sex from a desperate drug addict? How is that even sex you'd want to have? It's worth less than nothing."

All true, but men sacrifice everything for sex, and they do it over and over. What makes even less sense to me is why they sacrifice so much for marriage when sex is so easy to get. It's an evolution imposed sacrifice that's a slow motion version of praying mantis mating.

bagoh20 said...

As for opiods, I never do more than one, even for pain, but I love 'em.

reader said...

I've been prescribed hydrocodone about four times in the last few years. I don't react well to it and don't take it so I end up tucking the bottles away until I can drop them off at the sheriff's department. I finally asked them to make a note in my file that I'm allergic to it.

iowan2 said...

Pulling teeth is really weird. We used to see addicts in ERs who would simulate kidney stone pain and even prick a finger to add a drop of blood to a urine sample.

I had some blood cells in my urine sample when I took a CDL physical. Re-sample at urologist, and the next thing I know, they are shoving a scope up my penis. That's the least fun of any medical procedure I've ever had. But I don't think that would stop an addict from trying to fake it. They would volunteer for the penis roto rooter if pills waited at the end.

The Cracker Emcee Refulgent said...

Cash and sex for drugs? WTF?
How is this even a story? Have they exhausted every bit of Trump-fueled hysteria?

Michael K said...


Blogger Howard said...
These Trumper addicts just want free stuff.


You mean Bernie and AOC voters ?

I think you have your eyes on backwards. Keep trying, though. It's pretty funny.