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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Nevada

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Nevada Pain Management Doctor Pleads Guilty To Unlawful Distribution Of Opioids

LAS VEGAS, Nev. – A Las Vegas pain management doctor pleaded guilty Monday in federal court for unlawfully prescribing opioids, announced U.S. Attorney Dayle Elieson of the District of Nevada.

Dr. Steven A. Holper, 67, pleaded guilty to distribution of a controlled substance. He was indicted in February of this year. United States District Judge Jennifer A. Dorsey accepted the guilty plea. A sentencing hearing was scheduled for March 19, 2019. The statutory maximum penalty for distribution of a controlled substance is 20 years in prison and a $1,000,000 fine.

Holper, who has been a licensed physician in Nevada since 1990, admitted that between July 2015 and March 2016, he unlawfully prescribed Fentanyl, Oxycodone, and Hydrocodone to his patients outside the proper standard of care, and without a legitimate medical purpose. He routinely prescribed these highly addictive opioids to patients who did not have a medical necessity for the prescriptions. Holper’s actions contributed to the opioid epidemic in Nevada and elsewhere.

In 2016, there were 408 opioid-related deaths in Nevada, according to the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services.  In 2016, Nevada’s per capita prescription rate for opioids was 87/100 residents. Nevada ranked as the sixth highest state for the number of milligrams of opioids distributed per adult, according to a DEA study.

The case was investigated by the DEA, the FBI, the Office of Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the Henderson Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kilby Macfadden is prosecuting the case.

If you have a tip or information about illegal sales or distribution of prescription opioids, including Fentanyl, Oxycodone, and Hydrocodone by doctors and pharmacies, call the DEA at 1-877-RX-Abuse (792-2873) or contact the FBI at tips.fbi.gov.

For information about the harmful effects of illicit drug use, visit www.JustThinkTwice.com for teens and www.GetSmartAboutDrugs.com for parents, educators, and caregivers.

The Opioid Fraud and Abuse Detection Unit is a program that utilizes data to help combat the devastating opioid crisis. The District of Nevada was selected as one of 12 districts nationally to participate in the pilot program. The District of Nevada has assigned an experienced prosecutor that focuses solely on investigating and prosecuting health care fraud related to medical professionals who prescribe opioids, that unlawfully divert of dispense prescription opioids for illegitimate purposes.

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Topic(s): 
Opioids
Prescription Drugs
Component(s): 
Updated December 11, 2018