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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Michigan

Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Grand Rapids Dentist Surrenders DEA Registration And Agrees To Pay $200,000 For Allegedly Forging And Issuing Illegitimate Narcotic Prescriptions

          GRAND RAPIDS – Joseph H. Kirkwood, D.D.S., a Grand Rapids dentist, has agreed to pay $200,000 to resolve allegations that he violated the Controlled Substances Act by forging and issuing illegitimate prescriptions for narcotics. As part of the settlement, Dr. Kirkwood also surrendered his Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”) registration that enabled him to write prescriptions for controlled substances, and he agreed not to reapply for a new registration for four years.

          This settlement resolves allegations that Dr. Kirkwood wrote illegitimate prescriptions for controlled substances for other individuals and then collected the drugs for his own personal use. It also resolves allegations that Dr. Kirkwood forged controlled substance prescriptions using the signatures and DEA registration numbers of two other dentists, also for the purpose of collecting these drugs for himself.

          “This resolution demonstrates that my office takes seriously all allegations that a healthcare provider evaded safeguards in the law by forging prescriptions and issuing illegitimate prescriptions, including when the allegation is that the drugs were for their own use,” said U.S. Attorney Andrew B. Birge. 

          “Medical and dental professionals must not abuse the privilege of prescribing controlled substances,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Keith Martin, Detroit Field Division.  “DEA will continue to work with all levels of law enforcement to investigate allegations of unlawful prescribing.”

          This case was investigated by the DEA and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Michigan.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew J. Hull represented the United States.

          The claims resolved by the settlement are allegations only and there has been no determination of liability.


Prescription Drugs
Updated December 8, 2021