Chicago Doctor Gets Four Life Terms for OD Cases

By McCarton Ackerman 02/15/12

Paul Volkman dispensed more oxycodone than any one else in the US from 2003-2005, acting more like a drug dealer than a doctor.

Paul Volkman was implicated in up to 12
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A Chicago doctor was sentenced to four life terms yesterday for the fatal overdoses of four of his patients. Paul Volkman, 64, dispensed more oxycodone than anyone else in the US from 2003-2005; he made weekly trips to four clinics in southern and central Ohio, before federal investigators shut down his operation in 2006. A 2007 indictment said that while working at the Tri-State Health Care and Pain Management clinic in southern Ohio in 2003, Volkman charged patients $125-200 cash for visits and rarely, if ever, presented them with alternative treatments for pain. "This criminal conduct had devastating consequences to the community Volkman was supposed to serve," said Assistant US Attorneys Adam Wright and Tim Oakley in a court filing ahead of yesterday's hearing. "Volkman's actions created and prolonged debilitating addictions, distributed countless drugs to be sold on the street and took the lives of numerous individuals who died just days after visiting him." Volkman was also sentenced to 10-20 years on each of 13 other counts related to drug trafficking, in addition to five years for possessing a weapon while participating in drug trafficking. He was also convicted of eight other distribution counts that prosecutors said resulted in fatal ODs (but there wasn't enough evidence to convict him of the deaths). Over 70 government witnesses spoke against Volkman at his trial; he maintained throughout that he acted as a doctor, not a drug dealer.

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.