Dr. Paul Volkman was sentenced to four life terms for the overdose deaths of four of his patients this past week. Officials say Dr. Volkman prescribed more oxycodone from 2003 to 2005 than any other doctor in the country. As a result, many of his patients succumbed to their addictions.
According to the Associated Press, he traveled from his home in Chicago to three different locations in southern Ohio and one in central Ohio on a regular basis. There, clients would pay cash to see the doctor who would, in turn, give them the oxycodone they sought.
In his own defense, Volkman says he always acted as a physician and never as a drug dealer.
In addition to the four life sentences, he was sentenced on 13 other counts related to drug trafficking. Those sentences varied from 10 to 20 years. Some of those trafficking charges, according to prosecutors, involved overdoses as well, though there wasn’t enough evidence to charge Volkman in contributing to the death.
The Tri-State Health Care and Pain Management clinic in southern Ohio was home to a good deal of Volkman’s practice. The owners of the clinic, a mother and daughter, pleaded guilty to operating a place whose primary purpose was distribution of illegal prescription drugs. Both women testified against Volkman.
The federal Drug Enforcement Administration says southern Ohio is one of the hardest hit regions in the nation for prescription drug abuse. They say overdose deaths related to prescription pain killers are now the leading cause of accidental deaths in the state.
The state of Ohio has listened to the federal government and is taking all cases involving prescription drug charges very seriously, from the possession charges to the trafficking charges. If you are accused of dealing in illegal prescription drugs, you too could face maximum penalties under the law.
Sure, the courts are most interested in prosecuting those who are accused of distributing or trafficking the pills, but they also want to hit the users. Fortunately, many courts offer sentencing alternatives or programs to help addicts, not just punish them.
If you don’t treat addiction, punishment for the crimes associated with it will be ineffective. Because of this, if you are charged with possession or even a low level distribution crime, we may be able to get you the help you need as part of a plea agreement. Contact our attorneys today to discuss your legal defense options.