While physicians have the responsibility to relieve the pain and suffering of their patients, they have to know where to draw the line. Pain pills lead to overdose deaths in patients who misuse them, taking high amounts of narcotic drugs.
While medical doctors cannot know the true amount of pain a patient is suffering, he or she can use good judgment in keeping the prescriptions within standard practice. He or she should also be wary of patients who run out of their prescriptions too soon, or who appear to be drug-seeking.
One doctor, Dr. Paul Volkman, ran into trouble after being drawn into the alluring world of doctor drug-dealing. Through word-of-mouth business from junkies on the street, he was able to build up 4 practice locations dispensing more Oxycodone, amongst other mind-altering drugs, than any other Dr. in the U.S. between 2003-2005.
Addicted patients gladly paid $125 – $200 cash for a quick visit with him that would end with a prescription for the drug. When local pharmacies began refusing Dr. Volkman’s many patients with their high-level prescriptions, Dr. Volkman opened an internal dispensary.
At the end of his legal trial, Dr. Volkman was convicted of 12 counts of unlawful distribution of a controlled substance. Four of these counts were based on illegal distribution leading to overdose deaths of his patients.
He was also convicted of one count of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. This conviction alone carries up to 5 years in prison. The others carry far more. The 64-year-old faces 16 counts that qualify for up to 20 years in prison. The four that included deaths each range from 20 years to life imprisonment.
Drug dispensing laws in the United States were established to protect citizens from the deadly hazards of drug trafficking. Because of the allure of large quantities of money, Dr. Volkman risked going against these laws for incredible gain. In the end, the government required of him the $3.8 million he had stashed in his illegal operations and, on top of that, his freedom.