In case anyone thinks America is finally “over” its problem with prescription drug abuse, here are two cases that may cause them to reconsider. First, from Tennessee:

Nurse practitioner known as ‘Rock Doc’ gets 20 years for illegally prescribing opioids

This fellow was based in Jackson, about an hour east of Memphis. He was among a larger group of professionals for whom indictments were issued, beginning in 2019. Per the article, the indictments included “53 medical professionals, tied to some 350,000 prescriptions and 32 million pills.”

“That’s a lotta dope,” observed one online commentator. Indeed it is.

As far as we know, the intent was to resell the drugs on the street. Prescription opioids, sedatives, and stimulants, especially in the original packaging, tend to bring premium prices on the black market. Customers perceive them as ‘safe’.

Per the indictment, this rogue professional “…prescribed drugs that were highly addictive and at high risk of abuse as he tried to promote a “Rock Doc” reality TV pilot and podcast while obtaining sex and money for prescriptions.” In aid of this, he strove to maintain a “party atmosphere” at his  clinic. We have to wonder how much of his own product he siphoned off for personal use.

Turns out their eventual downfall was the result of an expansive effort to prosecute healthcare fraud that has “charged more than 5,400 defendants who have billed federal health care programs and private insurers more than $27 billion.”

Here’s another report, this time from Northern Virginia and the DC suburbs:

Arlington doctor sentenced to 10 years for illegal oxycodone operation

The prescriber happened to be a primary care physician, practicing from her home office. The office manager would recruit people willing to pretend to be pain patients, for whom the doctor would prescribe  outlandish amounts of oxycodone, by way of ‘treatment’. Once again, the pills were destined for resale on the black market, for a healthy profit.

There was nothing subtle about either of these operations. Did they really believe that they could keep it up, without getting caught? Seriously, how dumb, or perhaps how desperate, would a medical professional have to be to undertake something like this?

Then again, based on the sheer number of drugs involved, they did get away with it. For quite a while, at least. Then the hammer fell, as it tends to do.

In the Arlington case, the game was up when her patients began to die, mostly from OD. Seems even that didn’t cause her to cut back on oxy prescribing.

She appears to have kept right on writing scripts.