GREENEVILLE, TN. - Michael Norman Dube, 49, of Johnson City, Tennessee, pleaded guilty on March 23, 2011, in U.S. District Court in Greeneville, to omitting material information from records required to be kept under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) and making a false statement in connection with the renewal of his registration with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Sentencing was set for August 8, 2011, at 9:00 a.m., in U.S. District Court in Greeneville.
Dube faces up to nine years in prison and possible fines of up to $500,000.
As set forth in his plea agreement, Dube, a medical doctor, used his DEA registration to obtain hydrocodone, oxycodone, and buprenorphine (Suboxone) from drug suppliers which he then self-administered. He kept no records of the disposition of the drugs as required by the CSA and DEA regulations.
Controlled substances may only be distributed or dispensed lawfully in the manner prescribed by the CSA. The mechanism created by the CSA to allow legitimate use of controlled substances is based upon the concept of a closed system of distribution. This requires each entity in the distribution chain to obtain a registration from the DEA and to keep records and make reports of all controlled substance transactions.
Dube was granted a license to practice medicine in the State of Tennessee in April 1996. He also applied for and was issued a DEA registration number.
From October 2006 through May 2008, Dube used his DEA registration to order controlled substances -- hydrocodone with acetaminophen, oxycodone, and buprenorphine (Suboxone) – from drug wholesalers on 16 separate occasions. On June 3, 2008, he ordered 30 Suboxone 8/2 mg pills from Dendrite Interactive Marketing, a drug wholesaler.
Dube told DEA diversion investigators in March 2009 that he consumed the drugs himself and kept no records as to their distribution and disposition as required by statute and regulation, although he knew he was required to do so.
Dube has held a DEA registration since 1996. A practitioner must renew their DEA registration every three years. A practitioner may submit a paper copy of their renewal application; however, most practitioners, as did Dube, renew their registration on-line. On both the paper and on-line forms, the registrant has to answer four “Liability” questions either “yes” or “no.” The third liability question asks:
Has the applicant ever surrendered (for cause) or had a state professional license or controlled substance registration revoked, suspended, denied, restricted, or placed on probation? Is any such action pending?
The on-line form requires that a “yes” or “no” block be checked as no question can be left unanswered. If a registrant answers “yes” to any of the liability questions, the registrant then must provide information as to the date, location, and nature of the incident and the result of the incident.
By an agreed order entered May 17, 2007, the Tennessee Board of Medical Examiners placed Dube’s Tennessee medical license on probation for a period of not less than five years.
When renewing his DEA registration on-line on May 6, 2008, Dube answered “NO” to all the liability questions, to include the third question. At the time Dube made the representation, he knew that his state professional license had been placed on probation and that his answer to the third question was false.
“This is a case where Dr. Dube had multiple opportunities to comply with state regulatory requirements and obey federal law. He has chosen neither. We will continue our efforts to help eradicate the illegal prescription pill distribution problem by focusing on the medical professionals and others who act outside of their licensed authority,” said U.S. Atty. Bill Killian.
This indictment was the result of an investigation by the DEA’s Office of Diversion Control with assistance from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Neil Smith represented the United States.
Rodney G. Benson, Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Atlanta Field Division encourages parents, along with their children, to educate themselves about the dangers of legal and illegal drugs by visiting DEA’s interactive websites at www.justhinktwice.com, www.GetSmartAboutDrugs.com and www.dea.gov.