A Pennsylvania pain specialist who was once the state’s leading prescriber of pain medications has been found guilty of illegally prescribing painkillers to addicts and other patients. Dr. Van Edward Scott will serve at least 9.5 years in prison for these illegal painkiller prescriptions, as well as tampering with or fabricating evidence in the case.
According to prosecutors in the case, Dr. Scott prescribed more than 2.2 million doses of painkillers such as hydrocodone, methadone, and fentanyl in 2010 alone. State health records showed that this total was 60% higher than the number of prescriptions issue by the next leading doctor. Officials estimated that the street value of these painkiller prescriptions was at least $50 million.
Witnesses testified that Dr. Scott only spent a few minutes with each patient, failing to even take their vital signs before issuing powerful opioid painkiller prescriptions. Many of these prescriptions were used by known addicts or resold by other patients, sometimes right outside Dr. Scott’s office.
Opioid overprescription can place the health and even the lives of patients at risk. When patients are prescribed painkiller drugs in excessive quantities or given drugs that are too strong, they may be at risk of suffering an overdose. Overprescribing painkillers can also lead to an increased risk of dependence or addiction, which can further increase the risk of complications.