U.S. Attorney’s Office Seeks Preliminary Injunction To Stop Doctor From Illegally Prescribing Controlled Substances
SALT LAKE CITY -- The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Salt Lake City filed a civil complaint in U.S. District Court afternoon morning against a doctor the complaint alleges is issuing prescriptions for controlled substances in violation of the Controlled Substance Act. To protect the public, the United States is also seeking a preliminary injunction to immediately stop the doctor from prescribing powerful controlled substances.
According to the complaint, Dr. Nicholas Carl Greenwood operates Greenwood Addiction Physicians in Murray. Greenwood Addiction Physicians claims on its website to be the premier outpatient program for the treatment of opioid dependence in the Western United States. In reality, the complaint alleges, Dr. Greenwood issues prescriptions for substances with no legitimate medical purpose and outside the usual course of professional practice.
Through his business, Dr. Greenwood claims to offer treatment options for opioid dependence, alcohol dependence, Benzodiazepine dependence, outpatient medical detox, and nicotine/tobacco dependence.
Dr. Greenwood has the authority to dispense and administer Schedule III drugs for maintenance or detoxification treatment. Currently, the only controlled substance approved for the treatment of narcotic addiction is Buprenorphine.
A Schedule III controlled substance, Buprenorphine and Buprenorphine combination products are manufactured by multiple companies, according to an affidavit filed in the case. The products are marketed under several trade names including Suboxone, Zubsolv, and Butrans. Suboxone is sold as a dissolvable film for the treatment of opioid dependence and should be used as part of a complete treatment plan including counseling and psychosocial support.
According to the complaint, on April 4, 2018, the Tooele County Sheriff’s Office told the DEA’s Tactical Division Squad that an inmate was organizing and paying individuals to obtain controlled substances from Dr. Greenwood.
Following the tip from the Tooele County Jail inmate, three separate agents with the DEA Tactical Diversion Squad visited Dr. Greenwood 20 times in an undercover capacity, according to the complaint. The complaint alleges that over the course of almost eight months, Dr, Greenwood wrote the undercover agents 19 prescriptions for 889 pills without a legitimate medical purpose and outside the usual course of professional practice. All prescriptions were for Buprenorphine. The agents visited Dr. Greenwood from June 28, 2018, through February 21, 2019.
The complaint alleges all of the agents’ visits with Dr. Greenwood followed the same pattern: Dr. Greenwood never performed a medical examination, never asked questions about the agent’s health or symptoms, and never reviewed prior medical records. Instead, Dr. Greenwood issued prescriptions for Buprenorphine to the undercover agents without any evidence of medical need. Dr. Greenwood issued most of the prescriptions without actually meeting with the undercover agents, according to documents filed in court.
Dr. Greenwood knew, or should have known, that the prescriptions he issued, essentially on a cash-and-carry basis, were not medically necessary and were being sold or traded on the street, documents filed in court allege. Dr. Greenwood believed that 25 to 50 percent of the prescriptions he issued were sold or traded, documents filed with the court allege. None of Dr. Greenwood’s prescriptions issued to the undercover investigators had a legitimate medical purpose, according to a motion and memorandum in support of a preliminary injunction filed with the court.
The United States is seeking to stop Dr. Greenwood from prescribing controlled substances. Accordingly, the United States moved for a preliminary injunction at the same time it filed the complaint against Dr. Greenwood. Dr. Greenwood will have 60 days to respond to the complaint and 14 days to respond to the motion.
The claims made in the complaint and other court filings are allegations only, and there has been no determination of liability.