Illegally prescribed drugs lead to high number of accidental deaths in Shiawassee County

Due to the abnormally high number of deaths resulting from the misuse of prescription drugs in Shiawassee County, the Michigan State Police narcotics department was compelled to conduct an investigation.

"Prescription drug overdose was the leading cause of all accidental deaths in Shiawassee County in 2008. Prescription drug abuse is a serious problem within the county and the overdose death rate far surpasses other local counties of similar population," said Tim Gill, a commander of the Mid-Michigan Area Group Narcotics Enforcement Team. 

The MAGNET investigation found that five doctors in Shiawassee County were illegally prescribing and distributing prescription drugs. One particular physician was giving drugs to individuals who agreed to join the church that sponsored his free clinic, and asked church members to bring him their leftover drugs for redistribution. 

The investigation also revealed that these doctors were billing the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan for the office visits used to illegally prescribe the drugs, and that patient records were falsified to justify the prescriptions. 

The Shiawassee County prosecutor's office charged all five physicians with varying counts of distribution of controlled substances, health care fraud and the entry of false information into a medical record by a health care provider. Convictions were obtained as a result of plea bargains from all five physicians.

Members who suspect health care fraud are urged to call our Anti-Fraud Hotline at 1-800-482-3787, or report fraud through our website.

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