Volkman ruling upheld

By Wayne Allen

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The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals recently upheld a conviction on Dr. Paul Volkman. Volkman once practiced out of Tri-State Health Clinic in Portsmouth.

During his time at the Tri-State Health Clinic, Volkman would see anywhere from 18 to 20 patients a day with a high volume of pain medication being prescribed.

Volkman, was convicted of 18 crimes including four counts of illegal drug distribution that resulted in death. Volkman was sentenced to three life sentences, 13 other counts ranging from 10 to 20 years, all to be served concurrently, and to an additional five years in prison to be served consecutively for possession of a firearm in the furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. He was also ordered to forfeit $1.2 million. Four deaths were attributed to Volkman between the years of 2003 and 2005.

According to court documents, Volkman made weekly trips between Chicago and three locations in Portsmouth, and one location in Chillicothe, before task force investigators led by DEA Diversion investigators shut him down in 2006. Customers paid between $125 and $200 cash per visit. After a brief visit with him, they received a prescription for pain medicine. The clinics opened their own dispensary in 2003 after local pharmacies refused to honor prescriptions.

Volkman also directed his customers to the East Main Pharmacy in Columbus, which filled more than 5,500 prescriptions for high doses of oxycodone and other drugs between September 2005 and February 2006. Pharmacy owner Harold Eugene Fletcher pleaded guilty in January 2011 to illegal distribution of oxycodone and committing financial and tax crimes. Fletcher was sentenced Jan. 9, 2012, to 27 months in prison.

Volkman and his attorneys appealed a previous conviction and sentence to the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Circuit Judge Bernice Donald, released an opinion on the appeal, “When a doctor first enters the practice of medicine, he or she swears to abide by a prime directive of the profession; ‘First, do no harm.’ Paul Volkman breached this sacrosanct tenet when he prescribed narcotics to addicts and individuals with physical, mental and psychological frailties.”

Donald said the circuit court affirmed a district courts convictions and sentence of Volkman.

Wayne Allen can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 1933 or on Twitter @WayneallenPDT

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