Prescription drug abuse touches many

Union County has 4th lowest tax rate in the state, a top 5 rated school system, an outstanding park, a top 100 rural hospital system and is a great place to raise your family and grow your business. Unfortunately, yesterday the DEA and local law enforcement raided that hospital and arrested 6 individuals.

As reported by the AJC:

“Mike Gower, CEO of the Union County General Hospital in Blairsville, was apprehended after a nine-month long, multi-state Drug Enforcement Agency investigation that involved fraudulent prescriptions painkillers, authorities said.

Union county deputies, DEA agents, and North Carolina law enforcement said they served six arrest warrants and in addition to Gower’s arrest, four of his family members and two doctors were apprehended in the sting.

One of the physicians, Dr. James Heaton was arrested at his Union County medical practice near the hospital and accused of writing fraudulent prescriptions painkillers. Police told Channel 2 that Heaton wrote more than 15,000 fraudulent prescriptions for painkillers, like oxycodone, for Gower over a three-year period.

Deputies hauled out truckloads of documents from the hospital, and said Gower is facing multiple prescription drug charges.”

Prescription drug abuse is a problem throughout our country and the actions of a few should not reflect poorly on an organization or area with which they are associated.

But it will.

Yesterday was not a good day for anyone in Union County or any employee of Union General Hospital. Today is a new day and we will get through this.#believeit.

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Bart
Bart

Hope they find a nice warm place in Hell for the scumbags responsible for distribution of illegal scripts. These people are worse than any ‘illegal’ drug dealers and deserve to be treated as such. It is not a reflection on Union County, but it is a strong indication that big pharma with all their financial resources should face serious scrutiny. Just like the illegal drug trade, you have to go to the top if you are going to have any impact. Start busting the manufacturers.

gcp
gcp

“big pharma”? These perpetrators are hospital employees, family members or individuals affiliated with the hospital. In Ga. we have taken action to regulate “pill mills” but this situation is quite different and quite difficult to prevent. I just don’t believe big pharma has much to do with this situation.

Saltycracker
Saltycracker

Can’t resist a tease ?

“Donations to my foundation do not effect my decisions”
Hillary Clinton

Noway2016
Noway2016

The manufacturers? Seriously? What do they have to do with bad docs prescribing their pills? Wanna sue Smith and Wesson and Colt, too, for similar reasons? Doesn’t sound like you, TJ.

Bart
Bart

Noway, Agreed, normally I wouldn’t go up the line. But in this case, there is a valid reason IMO. Big pharma does a great job of incentivizing their sales force (docs, nurses, etc.) to move product. They give free samples all the time, can’t recall ever hearing of a gun manufacturer providing free guns to entice customers. They offer spiffs/incentives for moving a certain product. There are numerous enticements for docs to move product no matter the need of the victim…oops I mean patient. Thus the reason I believe big pharma is as culpable as the docs and deserves to… Read more »

gcp
gcp

Many manufacturers, including drug manufacturers, incentivize their product. The problem is the few docs that intentionally or negligently overprescribes, not the drug makers.

Noway2016
Noway2016

Ok And even with Big Tobacco, they should have gotten nothing. Show some parhetic individual, tug on heartstrings and prey on the wealth of others. Wrong on all fronts.

Bart
Bart

Big tobacco intentionally did things to enhance addictive qualities of their product thus they got busted. Big pharma intentionally incentivizes doctors, nurses, etc. to promote certain drugs with a big emphasis on highly addictive pain meds. I agree the main focus should be on the doctors (drug dealers), but there should also be scrutiny applied to the pharma companies (equal to Pablo Escobar or El Chappo). Beyond that, MediXXXX also has a large role in the process and should face scrutiny targeted toward how govt. encourages certain treatment paths. I’ve seen it firsthand as have many others who watch helplessly… Read more »

Saltycracker
Saltycracker

Fellows on the right – think I’ll throw my hat in with TJ on this. I doubt Colt is throwing big money on gun dealers, they have Obama doing great for them. As for pain meds, The inability to negotiate prices in some cases, highly restricted competition, insured event, direct interaction with docs resulting incredible profits or other benefits for both are not right wing causes.

Experts claim most hard drug addictions start with over prescribed pain meds. Time for serious scrutiny.

gcp
gcp

Negotiating prices and competition are valid concerns but here the issue is overprescribing or negligently prescribing drugs. Do you want to eliminate a class of drugs or penalize a drug maker because a doc knowingly overprescribes?

Saltycracker
Saltycracker

No, I want scrutiny on the reasons for the doc to over prescribe a particular drug. Betcha patient care is down the list.

gcp
gcp

In the case of a pill mill the incentive to the doc is money. Doc sees a lot of “patients” (drug users), spends five minutes with each patient and collects a fee from each patient.

In the the Union County case they have not released the details. I got an idea what was going on but it would be speculation on my part, so I won’t say.

Saltycracker
Saltycracker

Yes, follow the money, you mentioned one source but it could be there are other, maybe better sources. There are several ways for distributors and manufacturers to incent. I got to watch sparks fly between a Doc and an independent lab owner when my Ga State reps asked a question on medical costs and what they could do. The lab owner blasted Georgia, unlike many states, for allowing docs to own labs and profit nicely from ordering tests (to be careful) and then surcharge their lab charges. Then comes the possibly incented perscriptions. The reps asked no more questions and… Read more »

Charlie
Charlie

Those of you that are closely paying attention will note that due to the local nature of the issue for the author we’ve rushed “IrishPat” to the front page. We’ll get him to circle back soon with an official introduction where you can welcome him there. Let’s keep the comments on this post about the topic at hand. I’ll let this be a collective “welcome” in the interim. – mgt

Benevolus
Benevolus

I often don’t look to see the author until after I’ve made a guess as to who wrote it. Is Hassinger still around? He used to be the easiest to ID, but I don’t know if he took a correspondance course or what but something changed and he became harder to ID. Ed’s pretty obvious, obviously.