Not too long ago, many of the states in the South had severe problems with the over prescribing of powerful narcotic medications. At the turn of the new millennia, pain management clinics known as “pill mills” popped up like weeds in Florida; people would actually travel from surrounding states to take advantage of the rampant over prescribing of opioid painkillers. As lawmakers came to terms with the fact that we were in the midst of an epidemic, efforts began to curb the problem by closing down pill mills and using prescription drug databases to track over prescribing and doctor shopping.
While such efforts did a lot of good, it appears that some physicians did not get the memo and continued prescribing narcotics at heinous rates. Last month, a psychiatrist in Georgia was arrested and has been accused of running a pill mill, WSB-TV reports. Both local law enforcement and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents raided the office and home of Dr. Narendra Nagareddy and seized his assets as well.
“He’s a psychiatrist in Jonesboro who has been overprescribing opiates and benzodiazepine and the last several years has had a multitude of overdoses and overdose deaths,” said Clayton County Police Chief Mike Register.
Legal documents indicate that 36 of Nagareddy’s patients lost their lives while taking drugs prescribed by the psychiatrist, according to the article. A review of autopsy reports linked 12 of the deaths to prescription drug overdoses.
“He’s charged with prescribing pain medication which is outside his profession as a psychiatrist and not for a legitimate purpose for the patient,” said Clayton County District Attorney Tracy Graham Lawson.
While it is hard to believe that doctors are still getting away with profiting from patient addiction, it is a good sign that law enforcement is holding them accountable for their actions. Physicians should be working to end the prescription drug epidemic, not exacerbating the problem by continuing to overprescribe.