West Tennessee Psychiatrist Found Guilty of Unlawfully Distributing Opioids

DOJ News –

A federal jury found a west Tennessee doctor guilty today for unlawfully distributing opioids to purported patients and to others who were never his patients.  The defendant was charged in an April 2019 indictment as part of the first Appalachian Regional Prescription Opioid (ARPO) Strike Force Takedown, and this was the first trial guilty verdict for the ARPO Strike Force.

Following an eight-day trial, Richard Farmer, M.D., 83, of Memphis, Tennessee, a licensed psychiatrist, was found guilty of three counts of distribution of controlled substances outside the scope of professional practice and without a legitimate medical purpose.  Sentencing is scheduled for May 22 by U.S. District Judge Thomas L. Parker of the Western District of Tennessee, who presided over the trial.

“The Department of Justice will not relent in its pursuit of those responsible for fueling the opioid epidemic in the Appalachian region,” said Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division.  “Today’s verdict, which shows that our efforts are yielding tangible results, is a credit to the hard work of the Criminal Division’s ARPO Strike Force and our U.S. Attorney’s Office and law enforcement partners.”

“Opioid misuse and abuse is an insidious epidemic, created in large part by the over-prescribing and diversion of potent opioids,” said U.S. Attorney D. Michael Dunavant of the Western District of Tennessee.  “This guilty verdict demonstrates our resolve to aggressively prosecute medical personnel who misuse their positions of trust to exploit the very people coming to them for help.”

“Doctors who take advantage of patients suffering from addiction are no different than street corner drug dealers,” said Special Agent in Charge J. Todd Scott of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) Louisville Division Office.  “I am proud of the dedicated men and women of DEA who worked tirelessly to bring Dr. Farmer to justice.”

Full Press Release

This post expires and will no longer be available at 1:33 pm on Tuesday, February 23rd, 2021


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