The opioid crisis in America is not one to underestimate. The damage it has caused and continues to cause is irreparable. Overdoses are taking place at alarming rates and medical professionals all over the country seem to be making the situation worse. When drugs are illegally prescribed, they obviously get into the wrong hands. And, in those wrong hands, those drugs are used for purposes other than what they were intended for.
Used for recreational purposes, opioids can have disastrous effects.
“In recent years, it is estimated that about 5 million people in the United States have tried opioids as recreational drugs,” reports Dr. Megan A. Moreno, Fred Furtner and Dr. Frederick P. Rivara on JamaNetwork.com, “There are now more deaths each year from prescription opioids than from heroin and cocaine combined.”
Physicians like 57 year-old Dr. Shouping Li are certainly not helping the opioid crisis in America. Back in February, he pleaded guilty to the distribution of a controlled substance, specifically Oxycodone and Hydrocodone. This past Monday, Li was sentenced to one year and one day in federal prison and ordered to pay a $125,000 fine for overprescribing the highly addictive pain pills.
As reported by the District of Nevada branch of the United States Department of Justice, Li was also sentenced to three years of supervised release. The former Vice Chief of Staff for Humboldt County General Hospital in Winnemucca, Nevada once specialized in family medicine with a concentration in cardiovascular disease.
Li’s actions have resulted in numerous deaths.
According to court documents, Li started to prescribe narcotics that were not for a legitimate medical purpose beginning in March 2018. The investigation into Li’s actions started after the FBI received reports of several deaths related to opioid pain medication overdoses.
“Dr. Li admitted that, between August 2015 and February 2018, he prescribed Oxycodone and Hydrocodone at a high dosage rate to his patients outside the usual course of his professional practice and without a legitimate medical purpose,” reads the DoJ report, “He further admitted that several of his patients passed away while he actively attended to them.”
Nicholas A. Trutanich is the United States Attorney for the District of Nevada. “Today’s sentencing is a reminder of our unwavering commitment to hold dirty doctors accountable for feeding into the addiction of their patients,” he was quoted as saying in the report, “We will continue to aggressively pursue medical professionals who disregard their oath to do no harm.”
“The accessibility of deadly drugs are a threat to our communities,” added Special Agent in Charge Rouse. “Each and every day, the FBI and our partners in Nevada are working hard targeting distributors, who illegally contribute to the opioid crisis that continues to devastate communities all over the state of Nevada.”
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