Veterinarian Pays $226,000 And Surrenders License To Resolve Allegations That He Failed To Properly Track And Control Opioids
DENVER – Dr. Greg Collins, a licensed veterinarian and the founder and owner of the Louisville Family Animal Hospital in Louisville, Colorado, has agreed to pay the United States $226,000, surrender his Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”) registration, and permanently relinquish his Colorado veterinary medicine license to settle allegations that he violated multiple provisions of the Controlled Substances Act (“CSA”).
According to the government, Dr. Collins, over multiple years of practicing as a veterinarian and while running an active animal hospital, failed to properly inventory, track, and maintain control over controlled substances, including thousands of units of opioids such as fentanyl, hydromorphone, and morphine. By not properly inventorying, tracking, and maintaining control over the controlled substances, he violated the Controlled Substances Act. These violations were discovered by DEA investigators during an on-site inspection of Dr. Collins’ veterinary hospital, which included an audit of his drug control practices. DEA investigators found CSA violations with respect to all twelve of the twelve controlled substances audited. DEA also found failures to properly destroy controlled substances.
According to the government, the DEA’s investigation revealed that Dr. Collins was self-abusing these controlled substances. His failure to properly inventory, track, and maintain control over large quantities of potent opioids also created a danger of abuse of unaccounted-for opioids by others.
The risk of abuse of unaccounted-for opioids is acute in light of the well-documented opioid epidemic in the United States and Colorado. From 1999 to 2017, more than 700,000 Americans have died from a drug overdose. 70,237 drug overdose deaths occurred in the United States in 2017, six times higher than the rate in 1999, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (the “CDC”). Two-thirds of these deaths can be attributed to opioids. According to the CDC, on average, 130 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose.
In Colorado, there were 558 recorded opioid overdose deaths in 2017 from both prescription opioids and illegal opioids such as heroin, according to the Colorado Department of Human Services. From 2012 to 2016 the number of heroin-related deaths in Colorado increased from 91 to 234 and deaths related to synthetic opioids rose from 52 to 72.
“When medical professionals like Dr. Collins don’t track and control their opioids carefully, they are contributing to the scourge of opioid abuse,” said U.S. Attorney Jason Dunn. “This serious conduct will cost Dr. Collins more than just a hefty monetary penalty. He has permanently lost his medical license and drug registration.”
“The Drug Enforcement Administration is committed to protecting the public and holding those medical professionals accountable for their actions,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Tim McDermott.
This matter was investigated by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, Diversion Control Division, in conjunction with the United States Attorney’s Office.
The statements in this release are only allegations. In entering into a civil settlement, Dr. Collins did not admit to liability, and the agreement indicates that the parties entered into the settlement to avoid the uncertainty and expense of further litigation.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Jacob Licht and Deputy Civil Chief Amanda Rocque handled this matter on behalf of the United States Government.