According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), prescription drug abuse across the nation is at epidemic levels. While state and federal officials have attempted to curb the problem through enacting stricter regulations and laws, one thing that must be addressed is how individuals are accessing excessive numbers of pills and how prescription drug deaths are becoming more common.
It’s not uncommon to hear of certain doctors to be referred to as “drug dealers.” While this label is not true for the vast majority of physicians, there are a few who have abused their prescription writing privileges to the detriment of their patients. This seems to be the case for Oklahoma City-based physician Dr. William Valuck. He was recently arrested by federal agents and faces possible murder charges, as eight of his patients died of painkiller overdoses and one allegedly caused a fatal automobile accident.
Valuck has been under investigation since January 2013 after local pharmacies reported suspicious activity to law enforcement officials. The doctor allegedly prescribed up to 600 pills at a time for patients who had only seen him once for a few minutes. According to his arrest warrant, Valuck “prescribed controlled dangerous substances without a legitimate medical need and in quantities and under circumstances which constitute unlawful distribution of controlled dangerous substances.”
Federal agents also found the way that Valuck ran his medical clinic to be suspicious. He did not accept insurance and required patients to pay with either cash or a credit card. He was also the most prolific prescriber of controlled substances in the state of Oklahoma, writing 12,000 more prescriptions than the second-ranked doctor.