In Nevada, a pain management specialist who had pleaded guilty last month to unlawfully selling prescriptions for addictive painkillers, has been sentenced to 24 months in state prison.
Doctor James E. Tinnell, age 74, admitted that on four separate incidents between July 2010 and April 2011, he unlawfully wrote prescriptions for hydrocodone and oxycodone to two patients who did not have the medical necessity for them. The patients were undercover law enforcement officers posing as patients. During these visits, no appropriate medical history, physical exam or lab work was done, to determine need for the requested drugs.
Tinnell worked out of the Russo Medical Clinic, located at 2900 East Desert Inn Road Suite #108 in Las Vegas. No other physician at that clinic was implicated in the case.
Nevada U.S. Attorney Daniel Bogden said, “Dr. Tinnell is one of four doctors charged federally in Nevada over the last two years with unlawfully distributing prescription painkillers.
“The abuse of prescription drugs in Las Vegas is a serious problem. My office has, and will continue to devote substantial resources towards protecting the community from the harms that result when corrupt physicians breach their duty to prescribe dangerous drugs responsibly.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control, overdose deaths from painkillers prescribed by doctors, have skyrocketed in the past decade. Every year, nearly 15,000 people die from overdoses of drugs issued by physicians – far more than those who die from heroin and cocaine combined.