The statistics regarding prescription drug abuse in Oklahoma are staggering. Causing an average of two deaths per day, drug overdoses kill more Oklahomans than motor vehicle accidents do. With approximately four out of five drug overdoses resulting from commonly prescribed medications, it is clear that prescription drug abuse in Oklahoma has reached a critical level.
In fact, last year Oklahoma reached the dubious distinction of leading the nation in prescription painkiller abuse. Those addicted to prescription drugs seldom fit the stereotypical image of a drug addict. Often, they are ordinary, middle-class, and middle-aged people who initially begin taking painkillers for injuries, surgery, or chronic pain. Unfortunately, because many of these drugs are highly addictive, these ordinary citizens find themselves in a predicament they never imagined: addicted to drugs, criminally charged, and needing to find an Oklahoma dangerous drug lawyer.
Their lives may be cut short by an accidental overdose or a lethal combination of different prescription drugs. Though Oklahoma is attempting to crack down on prescription drug fraud through programs such as the Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP) of the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Control (OBNDD), illegal prescriptions continue to make prescription drugs available to those who are addicted and abusing these substances.
Doctor shopping, stolen prescription pads, and unscrupulous physicians all contribute to the problem. According to the OBNDD, a Norman physician is alleged to have written at least 4,000 prescriptions since his prescription registration expired two years ago.
The agency is accusing Dr. Howard Hagglund, 72, of meeting patients in retail locations, including Starbucks coffee shop inside a Barnes and Noble bookstore, and of illegally writing prescriptions without registration and without taking vital measurements of the patients.
The OBNDD states they became aware of Hagglund's activity when he reapplied for OBNDD registration to prescribe drugs. They investigated his background because of the two year lapse since his registration was suspended in 2010 when he failed to renew it.
Dr. Hagglund has been in trouble with the Oklahoma Board of Medical Licensure and Supervision before. In 1998, he was reprimanded for leaving a blank, signed prescription pad available for his physician's assistant to prescribed controlled dangerous substances while the doctor was out of town.
In 2008, he was placed on probation until January 2010 and fined $20,000 for treating patients for thyroid conditions without examining them. The drugs he is accused of illegally prescribing over the past two years include hydrocodone, Xanax, Suboxone, and testosterone.
The OBNDD is not recommending that Dr. Hagglund's prescription registration be reinstated, saying, "Renewal of Respondent's OBNDD registration would not be consistent with the public interest due to Respondent's failure to maintain an appropriate office in which physical examinations can be conducted; failure to maintain appropriate medical records; failure to conduct appropriate tests and failure to guard against the diversion of CDS to unauthorized persons."
Norman Oklahoma Doctor Accused of Writing 4,000 Fraudulent Prescriptions