As the opioid epidemic continues to garner national attention, authorities are taking heightened actions against doctors they deem to be at fault. Medical professionals who operate “pill mills”—practices that dispense or prescribe narcotics inappropriately—can face steep repercussions. The revocation of one’s license, heavy fines and jail time are all on the table for those that investigators find to be working illegally.

One such doctor in Northumberland County has been issued an indictment from a grand jury for running an alleged pill mill. The 60-year-old physician faces 19 criminal charges for illegally prescribing drugs. The indictment claims that the man has been wrongfully dispensing narcotics since at least 2005. Authorities allege that between January of 2016 and July of 2017 alone the man prescribed 2.7 million pills of Oxycodone, Hydrocodone and Fentanyl to less than 3,000 patients, making him the largest single prescriber of those drugs in the state of Pennsylvania.

A severe potential penalty

Five of the doctor’s patients died from opioid overdoses between 2013 and 2015, and the U.S. attorney handling the case says that the man is responsible. The indictment further states that the doctor failed to assess the potential risk for his patients to abuse opioids. Authorities seek a $500,000 fine and a forfeiture of the physician’s medical license.

The State Board of Osteopathic Medicine, for their part, immediately issued a temporary suspension of the doctor’s license upon his arrest. For medical professionals who find themselves in such a position to lose their license, it is advisable to seek legal counsel. An experienced attorney that is familiar with this particular area of the law may be able to provide helpful guidance during what can be a stressful, complicated process.