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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Middle District of North Carolina

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Rowan County Doctor Sentenced For Unlawful Distribution of Prescription Opioids

46 Months in prison and $50,000 fine

GREENSBORO, N.C. – A Salisbury medical doctor who unlawfully prescribed oxycodone was sentenced to prison, announced Matthew G.T. Martin, United States Attorney for the Middle District of North Carolina.

DR. OKECHUKWU DIMKPA, age 50, of Salisbury, North Carolina, was sentenced to a total of 46 months’ imprisonment by United States District Judge Catherine C. Eagles on December 16, 2019. DIMKPA was also ordered to serve 3 years of supervised release following his imprisonment, and to pay a $50,000 fine. DR. DIMKPA pleaded guilty on September 11, 2019, to six counts of knowingly causing to be distributed oxycodone, a schedule II controlled substance, while acting outside the course of professional practice and without a legitimate medical purpose.

Court records show DR. DIMKPA, an Internist and former owner and operator of Care Plus Urgent Care in Kannapolis, was over-prescribing prescription pain medication, specifically, oxycodone. In 2016, investigators learned that DR. DIMKPA was prescribing opioids to known “drug seekers” with little or no physical examination and for cash. One person who was prescribed oxycodone by DR. DIMPKA died in 2016 from Acute Combined Drug Toxicity.

As part of the plea agreement, DR. DIMKPA was required to surrender his DEA Registration numbers, effectively barring him from prescribing controlled substances.

“Our office is focused on stemming the tide of opioid abuse by prosecuting opioid dealers, whether they are on the street corner or wearing a white coat in a medical office. This investigation demonstrates the exceptional coordination between federal, state, and local authorities to address the over-prescription of opioids,” stated United States Attorney Matthew G.T. Martin.

The case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Agency, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Department of Health and Human Services, the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, and the Cabarrus County Sheriff's Office. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Michael A. DeFranco. This case was brought by the Opioid Fraud and Abuse Detection Unit of the Middle District of North Carolina, which is focused on identifying and prosecuting medical professionals who are contributing to the opioid epidemic.

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Topic(s): 
Opioids
Prescription Drugs
Updated December 18, 2019