An indictment was returned today charging a doctor with illegally prescribing controlled substances, resulting in the death of a patient. The doctor was also charged in twenty-two separate counts of illegally prescribing prescription drug controlled substances to several different patients, U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider announced today.
Schneider was joined in the announcement by Special Agent in Charge Keith Martin, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
Charged in the indictment is Dr. Scott Henry Cooper, 58, of West Bloomfield, Michigan.
The indictment alleges that from March 31, 2014 to December 31, 2018, Dr. Scott Cooper wrote more than 20,000 prescriptions for controlled substances, totaling over 800,000 dosage units. The street value of the pills prescribed by the defendant was in excess of $5.5 million. The defendant is alleged to have knowingly prescribed prescription drug controlled substances outside the course of legitimate medical practice and for no legitimate medical purpose, in furtherance of the scheme, and in combinations that were known to be dangerous and medically unnecessary.
The indictment further alleges that Dr. Cooper often prescribed with cursory examinations, or without bothering to examine the patient at all. As a result of this practice, he allegedly authorized monthly controlled substance prescriptions for one patient while that patient was incarcerated for almost two years. It is not known who actually received and filled that patient’s prescriptions while he was in custody.
The indictment alleges that Dr. Cooper prescribed dangerous combinations of controlled drugs, including multiple central nervous system (CNS) depressants such as oxycodone, Xanax and Soma. This sought-after combination is referred to on the street as the “trinity.” The defendant is alleged to have ignored warning signs that his patients were addicted or selling the drugs, and frequently failed to take commonly accepted steps such as requiring drug screens or checking MAPS before prescribing.
One of Dr. Cooper’s patients did not survive. Dr. Cooper is charged with prescribing this patient a prescription for 478 methadone 10 mg pills on June 17, 2015. The patient died of a methadone overdose in the early morning hours of June 18, 2015.
“Doctors who provide prescription drugs to people for no legitimate medical reason are fueling the opioid epidemic in Michigan,” stated United States Attorney Matthew Schneider. “This case should serve as a message to doctors who choose profit over their pledge to do no harm – we are focusing our law enforcement attention on you and we will do everything we can to bring you to justice.”
“Prescription drug misuse and abuse leads to addiction, suffering, and in too many unfortunate occasions death,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Keith Martin. “While the vast majority of doctors provide legitimate health care, some choose to violate their oath and the law. DEA and our law enforcement partners will continue to identify and investigate medical professionals who engage in the criminal distribution of prescription drugs.”
An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. The defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.