Michigan doctors helped fuel the opioid crisis by prescribing pills to patients without any medial purpose.
According to the FBI, a total of six people were using three locations to operate a Detroit opioid criminal enterprise worth more than $2.5 million. Two of the six people that were arrested were doctors.
One of the opioid doctors was from Nevada, Juan Bayolo. The US Attorney’s Office charged Bayolo and four other people with selling more than 500,000 opioid pills.
The Detroit opioid pill ring operated out of three clinics including one in Lincoln Park and one in Dearborn Heights. The third location remains undisclosed.
Federal authorities said that the patients receiving the opioid pills did not have any health conditions that warranted the use of these drugs.
The patients met with the two doctors online over telehealth appointments. The patients then paid the doctors to illegally write prescriptions without doing a physical exam. Patient recruiters were the ones to bring the patients to the doctors through telehealth.
The four people arrested besides the doctors were in Michigan at the time of arrest and included Angelo Foster and Brandy King who are from Detroit, Latrina Williams from Sterling Heights, and Edward King from Northville.
As of now, there is no information about the name of the second doctor who was arrested or where he practiced.
Dr. Michael Gratson commented, “As we know opioids don’t just affect the individual that’s suffering with the addiction. It affects everyone they connect with. It affects their families. Families oftentimes have such love and such care for this individual but they don’t know what’s the right way to approach this and treat this.”
Gratson is the Medical Director of the Emergency Center Opioid Disorder Program at Beaumont. He runs a program to support families and patients that struggle with the aftermath of opioid addiction.
He also told the public that opioids are used by medical professionals to treat suffering and acute pain. However, medical professionals need to always do a physical exam and put safeguards into place when prescribing these medicines to patients.
Opioids should only be given when truly needed. Patients also need to make sure they patient is aware of all possible side effects before taking their first dose.
The American Medical Association (AMA) says that there are more than 107,000 people who have died in the United States from opioid overdoses from December 2020 to December 2021.
Unfortunately, this is not the first time doctors in Detroit have been arrested for selling opioids to patients that did not really need them.
Back in December 2018, six doctors were charged with cheating Medicaid and Medicare out of $500 million and prescribing more than 13 million doses of opioid pills and other pain medications to patients that did not really need them. The scheme also took place in three different pain clinics in Detroit.
These two cases show that some underhanded Detroit-based doctors are further adding fuel to the fire when it comes to America’s opioid crisis.