Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)


June 21, 2013

Disturbing trend

Another physician admits to operating sham pain clnic

ASHLAND — One of the more surprising and disturbing aspects of the prescription drug epidemic that has plagued this region for the last 15 years is the number of trained physicians who have been convicted of surrendering their professional ethics and admitting to being no more than pushers who feed the habits of “patients” who are addicted to prescription pain pills.

The interests of these so-called physicians is not in the health and well-being of the patients they see but in making as much money as possible off the weaknesses of others. If some of those for whom they wrote  prescriptions for pain pill died from overdoses, they no concern of these physicians. Most of them do not even see their patients long enough to even remember what they look like.

In short, these physicians are motivated by greed, pure and simple. And sadly, no matter how many doctors are now behind bars, there always seems to be more “quacks” willing to take their place.

Among the latest physicians to fall from grace is  66-year-old Richard Albert of Paintsville, who was sentenced last week by U.S. District Judge Amul Thapar in Lexington to 75 months in prison to be followed by three years’ supervised release after pleading guilty to dispensing thousands of prescription painkillers.

The U.S. attorney’s office said Albert also agreed to forfeit more than $630,000 in proceeds and was ordered to pay $100,000 in community restitution. Prosecutors say Albert admitted writing numerous fraudulent prescriptions between January 2009 and February 2011. The prescriptions were typically for Percocet, and court records indicate Albert often wrote some 40 to 50 fraudulent prescriptions in a day.

Prosecutors say the investigation began after large numbers of people routinely were seen lining up outside Care More Pain Management clinic. in Paintsville  Such actions at other pain clinics have led to convictions of physicians throughout the region. But Albert was so greedy that he did not even make more than a minimal effort to conceal his misdeeds.

Although not physicians, 40-year-old Tammy Cantrell of Oil Springs and 50-year-old Shelby Lackey of Williamsport have pleaded guilty to federal charges of conspiring with doctors to illegally dispense more than 50,000 prescription pain pills at the same clinic where Albert was a physician/pusher. Cantrell and Lackey are scheduled to be sentenced Sept. 5 in federal court in Pikeville. Fortunately, a law adopted by the 2012 Kentucky General Assembly requires that pain clinic be owned and operated by licensed physicians.

We’re not sure how many physicians and pain clinic owners have been convicted for pretending to help patients while just using them to line their pockets. While the owners of pain clinics who are not doctors join a long list of people whose only motivation in money, the physicians had the skills and training to help heal people. To instead abuse that training just to make more money is, in our book, unforgiveable.

Text Only
  • By a thread

    It took some last-minute political maneuvering by State Rep. Tanya Pullin, D-South Shore and some skilled wheeling and dealing to prevent a bill important to AK Steel in Ashland from ending up on the scrapheap of the 2014 Kentucky General Assembly.

    April 23, 2014

  • Along the river

    Here’s hoping the weather will be as close to perfect as possible on the evening of May 30, as members of the Paul G. Blazer High School class of 2014 gather on the banks of Ohio River for the school’s first graduation on the river that has helped fuel this community’s economy since the time when it was known as known as Poage’s Landing.

    April 22, 2014

  • Good opportunity

    Morehead State University is using a highly successful program for outstanding high school juniors and seniors at Western Kentucky University to launch a similar program beginning in the fall of 2015 on the MSU campus.

    April 20, 2014

  • What's next?

    While virtually all cities in northeastern Kentucky provide their residents with some utility services — water and sewer, mainly, and sometimes natural gas — to the best of our knowledge, Olive Hill is the only town in the FIVCO‚Äąregion with its own electrical company.

    April 13, 2014

  • 'Waited too long'

    Lt. Garlin Murl Conner left the U.S. Army as the second-most decorated soldier during World War II, earning four Silver Stars, four Bronze Stars, seven Purple Hearts and the Distinguished Service Cross for his actions during 28 straight months in combat.

    April 12, 2014

  • Enact HB 3

    The National Rx Drug Abuse Summit is under way hundreds of miles from eastern Kentucky in Orlando, Fla., but the three-day conference which runs through Thursday, was organized by Operation UNITE, the eastern Kentucky anti-drug group that knows all too well the devastating impact the prescription drug epidemic continues to have on this region.

    April 11, 2014

  • State officials cease efforts to stop advance of ash borer

    Kentucky’s war against the tiny emerald ash borer responsible for already killing more than 25 million ash trees in the eastern United States has ended in surrender — by state officials, not the tiny insect.

    April 8, 2014

  • Demise of apparel industry in Kentucky continues

    The steady demise of the once thriving clothing industry in small Kentucky towns continues with the latest factory to announce it is shutting down being one of the largest: Fruit of the Loom has announced it is closing its last remaining plant in Jamestown, a move that eventually will see the elimination of more than 600 jobs in the small town near Lake Cumberland.

    April 7, 2014

  • None on ballot

    The 2014 Kentucky General Assembly considered an unusually high number of proposed amendments to the Kentucky Constitution on such issues as casino gambling, the restoration of voting rights for convicted felons and the elimination of state and local elected offices.

    April 4, 2014

  • In Your View

    Letters to the editor

    April 3, 2014

Featured Ads
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
SEC Zone