Former OKC Doctor Arrested for Illegal Prescriptions and Murder

[caption id="attachment_3692" align="alignleft" width="270"]By RayNata (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 , via Wikimedia Commons By RayNata [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 , via Wikimedia Commons[/caption]A former Oklahoma City physician blamed for prescription painkiller overdose deaths of several patients has been arrested at his home in Texas. Federal agents with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) arrested William M. Valuck, 71, on multiple criminal complaints, including 43 counts of unlawfully dispensing controlled dangerous substances (CDS) and 9 counts of homicide. The murder complaints stem from the drug overdose deaths of 8 patients and a fatal accident caused by another patient who was allegedly under the influence of drugs prescribed by Dr. Valuck. Three of those patients died of overdoses the day after Dr. Valuck wrote their prescriptions. In 2002, Valuck was convicted of federal fraud charges, including wire fraud and money laundering. He was ordered to pay $600,000 in restitution, and he was released from prison in 2005. Two years later, in 2007, he was granted a license to practice osteopathic medicine in Oklahoma. In September 2011, Valuck's Physician's Assistant, Michael Hume, was required to meet with Oklahoma State Board of Medical Licensure and Supervision investigators, who determined that Hume was over-prescribing painkillers, muscle relaxers, and anti-anxiety medications. He was accused of failing to order appropriate tests to diagnose conditions and of failing to keep appropriate records. Despite the warning from the state medical board, Hume did not change his ways, and continued to prescribe large quantities of powerful prescription drugs. In September of this year, the board suspended his license, and earlier this month, he surrendered his license to practice medicine in Oklahoma. According to a news report, Hume has worked with eight supervising physicians since 2009, four of whom were disciplined for over-prescribing. Valuck is among those four, and he also surrendered his license to practice medicine in Oklahoma this month. However, at the time of his arrest, Dr. Valuck was working at an urgent care facility in Texas. According to an agent with the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Control, Dr. Valuck was the largest prescriber of controlled dangerous substances in the state, on course to prescribe more than 3.5 million pills in 2013. Agent T.N. Briscoe of the OBNDD told reporters, "Our investigation has revealed that during a period of approximately one year, Dr. Valuck prescribed extremely large amounts of controlled substances — including the most abused prescription drugs on the street — to numerous patients with very little medical examination or the establishment of a valid doctor-patient relationship." According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) drug overdose kills more people each year than either car accidents for firearms. Statistics show that Oklahoma ranks highest in the nation in prescription drug abuse and fifth in prescription overdose deaths. However, it also ranks high in methods to counteract prescription drug abuse, with initiatives such as the Oklahoma Prescription Monitoring Program. Because of the prescription drug problem in Oklahoma, the state works aggressively to penalize anyone who unlawfully prescribes, dispenses, or distributes controlled dangerous substances. Read more about prescription drug crimes in Oklahoma, or click here to submit a confidential online form to discuss your case with a criminal defense attorney.  

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