‘Profits over patients’: DEA Agents discuss how traditional pill mills are on a decline


‘Profits over patients’: DEA Agents discuss how traditional pill mills are on a decline


Tennessee will receive $25 million in federal funding to help fight the opioid crisis.

We’re continue our 8-week series highlighting the opioid epidemic.

Just last month, a former doctor received a lengthy prison sentence after being convicted of running a pill mill in Hixson.

A Drug Enforcement Administration Assistant Special Agent says the owner was definitely one of the main contributors to the opioid crisis here in Hamilton County.

‘Profits over patients’: DEA Agents discuss how traditional pill mills are on a decline{p}{/p}

Fred Clelland is an attorney in Hixson.

His office is just a few doors down from where Tennessee Pain Institute once sat back in 2016.

“You would have an extra 5 to 10 cars mostly on a Monday mostly early that were dropping off people mostly stay in this parking lot or mostly move to different spots in the mall,” Clelland explained.

The owner, Timothy Gowder, was sentenced to more than a decade in federal prison last month.

Court documents say he prescribed narcotics in amounts and duration not medically necessary, advisable or justified for a diagnosed condition.

“Doctors who operate in this particular way are just the same as drug dealers on the street they are criminals,” said DEA Assistant Special Agent Brett Pritts.

Pritts says Gowder and the others in the case are responsible for distributing millions of illegal pills.

He says the result is communities filled with addicts not only in Tennessee, but in Kentucky where most of their clients came from.

“Profits, a lot of it is doctors putting profits over patient care,” Pritts added.

In Tennessee, Pritts says they removed more than 125 DEA registrations from medical professions since 2014.

DEA registrations are assigned to health care providers that allows them to write prescriptions for controlled substances.

“It could be just a doctor’s practice or a business owner decides there is a market for a certain area and they establish a business called a pain clinic, hire doctors to see patients and prescribe opioids outside of normal medical practices,” Pritts said.

Now, part of the goal is to educate doctors to show them what the DEA looks for and how it investigates to keep pill mills on a decline.

We asked Pritts what are pill mill signs. He says a waiting room filled with people in and out very quickly.

Also if doctors don’t offer any alternatives to your condition than pills, he recommends seeing another doctor.


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