Indiana Sex-For-Drugs Doctor Faces Additional Charges
UPDATE: INDIANA SEX-FOR-DRUGS DOCTOR FACES 55 ADDITIONAL FELONY CHARGES STEMMING FROM PILL MILL OPERATION
Last April we shared the story of an Indiana doctor, Tristan Stonger, who alleged to have engaged in a sex-for-drugs relationship with a patient. Stonger has been awaiting trial in Marion County on those charges. During this time, Federal Investigators continued a three-year inquiry on the doctor, led by the Drug Enforcement Agency. The DEA spent months using surveillance on his Pain Management Centers of Indiana with practices in Indianapolis, Bloomington, and Peru. What the Agency has concluded and recently shared with the public is frightening.
The Kokomo Tribune recently reported that the doctor has now also been accused of operating a “pill mill.” Federal investigators say Stonger saw as many as 100 patients in a single day, writing them prescriptions but not performing any physical exams. In addition, two of the patients also worked at Stonger’s farm where he had been trading pain pills for work, federal investigators say. One of these workers told investigators Stonger continued to give him prescriptions even though Stonger knew he was addicted to the pills.
Sadly, several new sources have reported that DEA agents identified two patients who died from overdoses after Stonger refilled their prescriptions. The opiate-based drugs crisis we have in Indiana today is again in the spotlight.
PILL MILL PRACTICES OFTEN LEAD TO OVERDOSE
“Pill Mills” are described as clinics that typically operate as cash-only establishments, and providers only perform a short physical exam, if any at all, prior to dispensing or prescribing large quantities of opioids, often in combination with benzodiazepines.
The Centers for Disease Control says, “Drug overdose death rates in the U.S. have increased five-fold since 1980. In 2009, for the first time in the U.S., drug overdose deaths outnumbered deaths due to motor vehicle crashes.”
Indiana has seen prescription drugs, especially opioid analgesics, being increasingly involved in overdose deaths over the last decade. The Indiana State Department of Health received a grant from the CDC in March of 2016 to help prevent overdose deaths related to prescription opioids as part of the CDC’s Prescription Drug Overdose: Prevention for States program.
WAGNER REESE CONTINUES TO FIGHT FOR PATIENT RIGHTS
Wagner Reese shares the concerns of our community and our state. We have previously blogged about the responsibility doctors have to seek alternate options for pain management, as well as their potential liability for addiction and addiction-related patient death.
Most importantly, we have played a role in ensuring dangerous doctors pay the price for causing injury to patients. We have been involved in numerous cases like the one involving Dr. Stonger, and we have represented vulnerable patients who were taken advantage of by doctors. We have successfully pursued wrongful death cases on behalf of families who have needlessly lost loved ones because of doctors who were more concerned with making money than with protecting their patients, and we will continue to fight against the unethical doctors who disregard the health and lives of those they have sworn to protect.
If you or a loved one were a patient of Dr. Stonger and believe his medical practice contributed to the injury, addiction, or death, please call the medical malpractice attorneys at Wagner Reese today for a risk-free, no-cost consultation: (888) 204-8440.