A North Texas physician was recently sentenced to twenty years in prison in connection with the death of seven patients from 2012 to 2017. Pain management doctor, Howard Gregg Diamond, is the former principal physician at the Diamondback Pain & Wellness Center in Sherman, Texas. In July 2017, Diamond was indicted by a federal grand jury after authorities found evidence that Diamond had written countless prescriptions for addictive opioid medications without a legitimate medical purpose since 2010. In July 2014, Diamond distributed or dispensed morphine, oxycodone, alprazolam, and zolpidem to a patient that resulted in the patient's death just ten days after the medications were prescribed. Law enforcement authorities also linked six other overdose related deaths to prescriptions written by Diamond between 2010 and 2017. The overdose deaths occurred in several cities in both Texas and Oklahoma.
Timothy Lewis died of an overdose on May 4, 2017. His mother has filed suit against employees of HOPE Clinic, Cross Lanes Family Pharmacy, and Poca Valu-Rite. She has alleged they operated a pill mill and fatally over-prescribed opioid medication to her son.
Recently, the Houston Chronicle published an article indicating that the Unites States consumes over 70% of the world's legal medicinal supply of opiates. The Houston Chronicle cites to an analysis of the Congressional Record and international treaty data in reaching these figures. Given that opiates are powerful, poppy-based pain medications, and closely related to heroin, these statistics are shocking. Toxicologists and chemists fear that the nation's over-prescription problem is creating a "Generation Rx." Even more shocking and alarming are the increasing number of prescription drug overdose deaths across the country.
On January 18, 2011, jurors in Harris County sent a message to health care providers when they awarded $10.1 million in damages to the family of an overdose victim, Michael Skorpenske. According to jurors interviewed following the verdict, this was a clear message to "pill mills" that have turned Houston into a center for prescription drug abuse. "Our verdict shows how much our community is against these pill mills and wants things to change," according to juror Lauren Simmons. Tim Bammel, another juror in the case, stated that the verdict "should discourage others who might be improperly churning out the addictive drugs that killed Skorpenske."