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Wisconsin doctor indicted on drug charges

An emergency medicine department head doctor has been charged with illegal possession of prescription drugs. On Aug. 28, a Madison grand jury indicted the doctor on federal drug charges, which included fraudulently obtaining the drugs. The doctor is alleged to have received these drugs from a prescription drug vending machine by writing and filling prescriptions in the names of 15 of his patients without their knowledge.

The accused doctor is said to have conducted the illicit activity between January and October 2012 using a machine that was located inside Beloit Memorial Hospital, where he worked. The doctor voluntarily resigned from his position in April after officials at the hospital made the discovery that led them to believe that the doctor was prescribing himself pain medication.

Once the administration of the health system became aware of the accusations, it turned the information over to law enforcement. The system's medical coordinator said that this is an unfortunate incident and that the doctor had been in good standing with the hospital for his entire 18-year tenure. The doctor also served a three-year term as Wisconsin State's Medical Director for Emergency Medical Services in 1998.

The doctor allegedly began taking painkillers legally after suffering from an injury. A review of the doctor's activities indicated that none of the patients whom he cared for throughout the duration of his reported drug use had their safety compromised.

Sometimes good people can become victims of circumstances and take part in actions that could have negative consequences. A federal drug charge may result in physicians losing their licenses to practice in addition to other penalties such as time in prison. A criminal defense attorney may be able to advocate for those who are accused of committing wrongful acts while suffering from a prescription drug addiction. The attorney could stress that their client may benefit more from treatment than from incarceration.

Source: Beloit Daily News, "Doctor facing charges", Clint Wolf, August 29, 2013

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