Ohio Oxy Doctor Found Guilty of Causing Fatal ODs

By Dirk Hanson 05/11/11

More than 70 police officers, pharmacists, patients, and clinic employees testifed to Volkman’s astonishing volume of painkiller prescriptions.

Bad money.
Photo via thinkstockphotos

A jury put an end to Dr. Paul Volkman’s pill mill empire in Ohio, convicting him of causing the death of four patients who overdosed on illegally prescribed oxycodone. Volkman, 64, faces at least 20 years in prison, writes AP legal affairs writer Andrew Welsh-Huggins. More than 70 government witnesses—police officers, pharmacists, patients and clinic employees—testifed to Volkman’s astonishing volume of painkiller prescriptions. The federal indictment charged that while Volkman was working in a Portsmouth, Ohio pain management clinic, “patients came from hundreds of miles away and were charged $125 to $200 in cash for visits to see a doctor.” According to the Cleveland Scene: “Drug addiction has hit southern Ohio particularly hard, but the growing problem has spread throughout the state, killing four Ohioans a day. In 2009, drug overdose was the most common cause of accidental death in the state. Doctors and pharmacists in Scioto County dispensed 9.7 million doses of prescription painkillers last year--an average of 123 pills for every adult and child in the county.”

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Dirk Hanson, MA, is a freelance science writer and the author of The Chemical Carousel: What Science Tells Us About Beating Addiction. He is also the author of The New Alchemists: Silicon Valley and the Microelectronics Revolution. He has worked as a business and science reporter for numerous magazines and trade publications including Wired, Scientific American, The Dana Foundation and more. He currently edits the Addiction Inbox blog. Email: [email protected]