Indiana doctor gets 2 years for overprescribing

Indiana doctor gets 2-year prison sentence for over-prescribing prescription drugs
Posted on July 3, 2014 at 12:00 a.m. | Updated on July 3, 2014 at 6:42 a.m.

KOKOMO, Ind. (AP) — A 78-year-old Indiana doctor who pleaded guilty to over-prescribing prescription drugs has been sentenced to two years in prison and stripped of his medical license.

Don Wagoner pleaded guilty in May to eight felony counts, including dealing in a narcotic drug and dealing in a controlled substance. Wagoner’s sentence, handed down Wednesday, includes eight years of in-home detention and 20 years of probation.

Howard Superior Court Judge William Menges also ordered Wagoner’s medical license revoked, telling him he could never practice medicine in the U.S. again, the Kokomo Tribune reported (http://bit.ly/1mKF5Zq ).

Wagoner, his wife and two other doctors were arrested last year on narcotics charges connected to Wagoner’s clinics in Kokomo and the nearby town of Burlington. Their cases are pending.

State officials say at least a dozen patients died from drug-related complications stemming from prescription drugs prescribed by his clinics.

Several people in the standing-room-only courtroom clapped as deputies led Wagoner away in handcuffs to begin his sentence.

Dustin Noonkester, whose 19-year-old son, Brady, fatally overdosed on methadone he obtained from a patient of Wagoner’s, said it was a “great pleasure” to see the doctor in handcuffs, although he and his wife thought Wagoner deserved a longer sentence.

“We’re not happy with the amount of prison time. But we are pleased he cannot be a doctor ever again,” he said.

Kokomo police and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency raided Wagoner’s clinics in Burlington and Kokomo in March 2013, and seized records. The arrests followed about a month later.

Howard County Prosecutor Mark McCann said the illegal distribution of addictive prescription drugs is a rapidly growing problem. He said prosecutors accomplished their goal of shutting down Wagoner’s distribution of medications.

“Mr. Wagoner in this case preyed upon on those addicted to prescription drugs in order to line his own pocket,” McCann said.

Information from: Kokomo Tribune, http://www.ktonline.com

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