Addiction Doctor Says Relapse Led Him To Write Fake Scripts

By Britni de la Cretaz 07/13/17

A Vermont doctor battling addiction now faces up to 66 years in prison for a variety of fraud charges.

Doctor in blue uniform with stethoscope attached to handcuffed at the wrist

A former physician in Rutland, Vermont who treated people struggling with substance use disorder has been charged with nine felonies that include obtaining a regulated drug by fraud, uttering a false prescription, and Medicaid fraud.

Dr. Mark E. Logan, 66, could face up to 66 years in jail for the charges. According to the Rutland Herald, Logan told police that he had prescribed drugs for other people but kept them for himself. He was also accused of defrauding Medicaid of more than $580,000.

Detective Sgt. Thomas Mozzer of the Vermont State Police told the Rutland Herald that once he was presented with incriminating documents, “Logan made an admission he’d relapsed with his addiction recovery and (the office manager’s) prescriptions for narcotics and Diazepam ‘are all a reflection of a relapse on my part.’ He advised, ‘I’m guilty of that. I’m guilty of manipulating them.’”

As Seven Days Vermont points out, Logan’s arrest comes as people are calling for the Vermont Department of Health to make information about doctors' prescribing habits public. Access to more data "would give us a much more clear picture of what's going on in the universe of prescribing practice," Sam Francis-Fath, Chittenden County Opioid Alliance data manager, told Seven Days. "There is an assertion that doctors have [gotten] it together and stopped overprescribing. It would be nice to have data to back that."

Earlier this year, Francis-Fath and Eric Fowler, a Burlington police crime analyst, published a report showing that Vermont physicians wrote 17% more opioid prescriptions per patient than doctors in other New England states. However, that report was incomplete and limited by the public data the pair was able to access.

Part of Logan’s practice was dedicated to providing Suboxone and treatment for addiction. Logan voluntarily surrendered his license to practice medicine in Vermont in June 2016. The investigation into Logan’s behavior began in January 2016 involving state police, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Vermont Board of Medical Practice—and the allegations go back to 2010 or earlier.

This past week, the nation’s acting Drug Czar Richard Baum of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), visited Vermont and praised the state for expanding treatment access in recent years. Baum said Vermont is now one of only three states with treatment capacity considered sufficient to meet the substance use disorder treatment needs of its residents.

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Britni de la Cretaz is a freelance writer, baseball enthusiast, and recovered alcoholic living in Boston. Follow her on Twitter at @britnidlc.