Houston doctor, clinic owner found guilty for opioid 'pill mill'

By Ed Adamczyk

March 30 (UPI) -- A Houston physician and clinician have been convicted on charges they unlawfully wrote more than 30,000 opioid prescriptions, federal authorities said.

After a nine-day federal trial, Gazelle Craig and Shane Faithful were convicted of one count of conspiracy to unlawfully distribute controlled substances and three counts of unlawfully distributing and dispensing controlled substances.


Evidence showed Craig, a licensed doctor of osteopathic medicine, wrote prescriptions for 2.1 million doses of hydrocodone and 1.3 million doses of carispodal while working at a pain management clinic owned by Faithful.

The combination of the two controlled substances comprises a "dangerous drug cocktail" with no known medical benefit, the U.S. Justice Department said in a statement.

Craig's office issued as many as 60 prescriptions per day and patient transportation was arranged by "crew leaders," after which the patients were charged about $300 per visit.

The evidence showed profits of $15,000 per day were commonplace, and were divided between Craig and Faithful.

They also "made great efforts to prevent law enforcement from investigating," the department said, adding that electronic devices were banned from the clinic and multiple security guards were present to keep order and control crowds of patients.


A sentencing date has not been scheduled.

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