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
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
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.