12 clinicians charged with opioid distribution

Twelve medical professionals were charged with crimes related to illegal opioid distribution, the Justice Department said May 4.

In one case, a Kentucky dentist allegedly illegally prescribed a 24-year-old patient morphine as part of three opioid prescriptions within five days, the department said. The patient died from a morphine overdose, allegedly from one of the dentist's prescriptions.

Another case involves a former nurse and clinic director in Tennessee, the department said. The former nurse allegedly illegally obtained opioid pills for personal use and distribution by filling fraudulent prescriptions. The drugs were paid for with hospice patients' benefits.

In a third case, a Kentucky physician allegedly illegally prescribed opioids to patients with taxpayer-funded insurance, the department said. The physician allegedly used the patients to bill the government programs for medically unnecessary procedures.

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