All addicts seem to get a break – even docs who are addicted and prescribe to addicts

https://doctorsofcourage.org/richard-morgan-do/

Richard Morgan, DO, was a physical medicine and rehabilitation (PM & R) physician in New York City.  He was also an addict, which led him to commit the crime of selling prescriptions for drugs. Literally, he is the first doctor in the 5 years that I have been researching, to actually be guilty of violating the Controlled Substance Act. And yet, unlike all of us who are innocent victims unable to work again, he is a clinical instructor at a medical school with a future of having his license reinstated.  How could this be, and how does it make you feel? I can honestly say my feelings sway like a pendulum.

 

Richard Morgan’s history as a physician

Richard Morgan, DO graduated in 1998 from the New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine. He completed his residency in PM & R in 2002. But from 1997 through 2007, he was addicted to opioids and benzodiazepines. To this day, he blames being treated with opioids following dental surgery as a medical student as the cause of his addiction.  Hopefully this article will get through to him and others who blame opioids for addiction.

History of his addiction

In 1997 while a medical student, he had his wisdom teeth pulled, developed an abscess and received a prescription for Vicodin. Taking it as prescribed, he began to notice a change in how the medication affected him. “It was no longer about the pain,” he said. “I really started enjoying how it made me feel.” Suffering from stress in school and with his wife, “it just gave me this feeling of empowerment that I could take on the world.” He would get prescriptions for fake patients from the hospital pharmacy to use himself.

After graduation from residency in 2002, he wasn’t happy in the job he began. With his resentment and frustration, Morgan’s addiction worsened. “I realized I was starting to take pills to boost my confidence,” Morgan says. Some young kids approached him at the urgent care center and offered him money to prescribe them pills. At first he said no. Then one of them threw down thousands of dollars in cash and he changed his mind. He also wrote himself prescriptions using about 15 different fake names, with false addresses and dates of birth. He went to dozens of pharmacies to spread out his prescriptions and refills, and he paid cash.

In early 2006, Morgan’s family staged an intervention. After two failed rehab attempts he finally participated in New York State’s PHP (physician health program) and was able to stay clean afterward. But the people who bought prescriptions from him tracked him down, threatened him, and he continued to write prescriptions for them.

Dr. Morgan’s Conviction and Imprisonment

In May 2007, at age 35, Dr. Morgan was arrested for conspiracy to distribute oxycodone. According to the indictment, Dr. Morgan sold more than1,500 prescriptions for OxyContin and other drugs, for individuals who were not patients, including one recipient who paid him roughly $6,000 per month for more than a year.

Although early in the attacks on doctors, DEA Special Agent-in-Charge John Gilbride already had the propaganda line taught by the DEA and said, “Trafficking OxyContin is no different than trafficking cocaine, but in this case, the source of supply wore a white doctor’s coat.”

Following his defense attorney’s recommendations, Dr. Morgan pleaded guilty. Over the next 2 years, while awaiting sentencing, he continued to practice medicine, but without the ability to write prescriptions. Despite the frequent drug testing and therapy sessions, he still had a “pill fixation,” he says. “I felt comfort in pills.” He bought Sudafed and took whole sheets of the pills to get a little bit of a high. “It would almost feel like I drank 10 cups of coffee at the same time,” he says. So in spite of his saying he was “clean”, he was still abusing. During one month, Morgan bought more Sudafed than was allowed by state law. He was arrested again in March 2009.

Dr. Morgan was sentenced to 14 years in prison. But lucky for him, after serving 8 years, he was rewarded with an early release in April 2017.

Post-incarceration

It’s amazing to me how thousands of innocent physicians have had their lives ruined, tried to get their stories to the public, and can’t because the media have an agenda against us.  But Dr. Morgan, an addict and a law breaker, gets an appearance on The Dr. Oz Show to tell his story.

Then he gets an invitation to speak at the New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine to students at the school about his experience with addiction. That was followed by becoming a full time clinical instructor at New York Institute of Technology of Osteopathic Medicine. With the help of New York State’s physician health program, he is working to regain his medical license.

Chances of relapse?

In the 4 years since his release from prison, Dr. Morgan says he has never come close to experiencing a relapse. But he knows it could happen. He hopes that constantly remembering what happened to him because of addiction will protect him from relapsing.

“So many positive things are happening,” Morgan says, “and they wouldn’t be happening if I ever picked up a pill.”

But addiction isn’t a case of mind over matter. Until he learns the REAL cause of addiction and does the 7 steps to healing, he is always at risk.

My thoughts on the good news/bad news of this case:

  1. Morgan broke the law. But it was caused by his addiction, just like all of the inmates in prison cells for drugs. So he does deserve a second chance. The fact that he is getting it when the rest of us aren’t might not be fair. But when is life fair?
  2. I hope Dr. Morgan will use his connections to bring justice to the rest of us. So my message to him is:

Dr. Morgan,
Learn the REAL cause of drug abuse. Use that when you teach to the residents, not that opioids or drugs cause addiction.  Become a member of Doctorsofcourage and help get our message out to the country through your connections.  Heal yourself with the Seven Steps to Healing and help promote the knowledge that you learn from us. It is in line with the philosophy of osteopathic medicine.

I wish you all the best, in healing and in your profession.

One Response

  1. Being an addict in the medical profession is protected. A pharmacist back when I was in practice, Russell Gates, Dublin VA, was an addict who had been reinstated as a pharmacist. He was in an auto accident while high, after being reinstated. He pleaded guilty, but because nothing was on his record from before, he was instructed to go to the medical program for addicts and if nothing else happened in 3 years, the offense would be taken off his record. Until people learn the REAL cause of addiction and fix it with the 7 steps, any medical professional in a standard treatment program is still an addict and a threat to society and his patients.

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