'Drug dealer with a stethoscope:' Doctor accused of running opioid ring
CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. (WZTV) — Federal prosecutors are charging a Clarksville doctor with running a “massive opioid distribution and healthcare fraud scheme,” according to new documents released Friday.
This comes after thousands of opioid prescriptions and even two deaths.
From the outside, it looks like 56-year-old Samson Orusa’s office is running as normal. Charges from the federal government against the doctor tell a different story.
“In effect, he’s a drug dealer with a stethoscope,” United States Attorney Don Cochran said.
Dr. Orusa is facing a 45-count indictment for writing large prescriptions for dangerous opioid painkillers, healthcare fraud and money laundering.
"We are a state that needs to cut back on our prescribing, and this is an action that's designed to do that,” Cochran said. “To take care of a medical professional that's not putting his patients first, but putting his own pocket book first."
The investigator’s report shows one person died from a combination of drugs Orusa prescribed, and another person died from a heroin overdose in the doctor’s waiting room after Orusa prescribed oxycodone and other drugs without checking the patient’s medical history.
The report also states that many pharmacies in Clarksville won’t even fill prescriptions from Dr. Orusa.
Still, the doctor continues to see patients, but he cannot write prescriptions as a condition of his release.
One of his patients, Tanika Grundy, said she is not surprised at the news about her doctor, but she also says she doesn’t think he did anything wrong.
"I know firsthand that most of the things they say is not true,” Grundy said. “It just has to do with the pain pills. Nobody likes them, and thinks no one should take them."
Grundy said along with primary care visits, she gets an oxycodone prescription from Orusa once a month, which she says is not easy to come by.
"That's why I have continued to come here, because no one else wants to even write them medications anymore,” Grundy said.
She said she hopes the doctor can clear his name.
"I hope finally he can prove himself, and they leave him alone, because he's an awesome man, and a preacher, and he's just great,” she said.
Dr. Orusa was at his office Friday afternoon, but his staff referred WZTV to his attorney, Jim Todd.
Todd said they’re going to fight the charges in court.
The Tennessee Department of Health said Dr. Orusa holds an active and valid license, and there’s no history of disciplinary action against him.