Pain Doctor Who Unnecessarily Prescribed Prescription Painkillers Charged with 5 Deaths
A pain doctor with offices in Louisville, Kentucky, and Jeffersonville, Indiana has been charged with the deaths of five patients who died from prescription painkiller overdoses.
Dr. Jaime Guerrero faces a 32-count indictment for writing unnecessary prescriptions for methadone, hydrocodone, and oxycodone – strong narcotic prescription painkillers that are part of an addiction epidemic across the United States. Reportedly, the wrongfully prescribed narcotics led to the deaths of five of his patients. He allegedly prescribed these drugs “for no medical purpose” between 2009 and 2012; patient deaths occurred between 2010 and 2012.
Guerrero is also charged with healthcare fraud for his fraudulent billing practices.
Guerrero’s pain clinic was often packed, according to reports – the doctor saw up to 100 patients a day at the peak of his practice, spending 3 minutes or less with each. However, he submitted claims to insurance companies, Medicaid, and Medicare that reported much longer visits. He also employed a staff member, who was not a licensed counselor, to offer “drug education classes” to patients.
Acting U.S. Attorney John E. Kuhn Jr. said in a statement that “physicians who recklessly prescribe narcotics must be held accountable, and where investigators and prosecutors believe they can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that medically unnecessary narcotics caused a patient death, we will pursue those cases criminally.”
Guerrero’s pain clinic, Advance Pain, claims on their website that “we believe that life should be experienced pain free.” Although Guerrero has a legitimate medical license in good standing, his prescribing practices involving narcotic painkillers were dangerous and negligent.
Prescription drug abuse and overdose is rampant in the South, especially in the Appalachian area of Kentucky. Recently, the Attorney General of Kentucky, Jack Conway, has filed a lawsuit against Purdue Pharma, the manufacturers of OxyContin, because the company did not disclose the addictive dangers of their strong opioid painkiller, and that has led to numerous lives ruined through addiction and untimely death.
“This is about holding them accountable,” said Conway. “They played a pre-eminent role in the state’s drug problem. This started to explode in the mid-1990s, when Purdue Pharma was marketing OxyContin. The resulting opiate epidemic … is a direct result.”
Appalachian cities and towns rely on coal mining as the base of their economy, which means that many workers in the area suffer from chronic pain due to injury. Doctors prescribe narcotic painkillers to help treat back, shoulder, and leg injuries regularly, and that can easily become addiction for many patients.
Prior to 2006, according to the investigation, prescription drug overdose deaths rose 18% every year. Since 2006, however, that rate has risen only 3%, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. However, specific prescription drugs such as opioid painkillers like OxyContin and Vicodin still saw steep rises in overdose deaths until 2011, likely reflecting the epidemic of prescription painkiller and opioid addiction in the US. 2011 was the final year included in the analysis.
The Strom Law Firm Protects Against Prescription Painkiller Drug Abuse Charges
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