Safety and OSHA News

Nurse practitioner pleads guilty to running an illegal pain clinic

Medical personnel need the proper licensing to write pain medication prescriptions for injured workers, or else they could face felony charges. 

Douglas Shrewsbury, a nurse practitioner in Springfield, Ohio, pleaded guilty to felony drug trafficking after authorities found him running a pain clinic without a proper license.

The charges include:

  • aggravated trafficking in drugs (a first-degree felony)
  • aggravated possession of drugs (a second-degree felony), and
  • Medicaid fraud (a fourth-degree felony).

The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) special investigations department says Shrewsbury wrote 56 prescriptions for schedule II narcotics to injured workers in the comp system without an overseeing physician. The BWC says prescribing without an overseeing physician is beyond the scope of a nurse practitioner.

In July 2017, the Ohio Board of Pharmacy began a joint investigation with the Springfield Police Department and the Ohio Board of Nursing in response to concerns Shrewsbury was operating a pain management clinic without an appropriate license and illegally issuing prescriptions for controlled substances.

In November 2017, as a result of the investigation, searches were conducted at Shrewsbury’s office and home, both in Springfield. Evidence seized included prescription drugs and patient records. Charges were issued in July 2018.

Shrewsbury’s sentencing is Dec. 27.

According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA), millions of Americans suffer from opioid use disorders involving prescription pain medications, and each day more than 40 people fatally overdose on them. The NIDA says opioids have been overprescribed or prescribed without adequate safeguards and monitoring, which has significantly contributed to the rise in opioid use disorders.

Studies say treating patients with chronic pain now accounts for 70% of opioids dispensed in the U.S.

OSHA Reporting & You
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