Dentist to serve year in prison for drug distribution

Hugh Maddux, the former owner of a dental practice in Newnan, has been sentenced for drug distribution in federal court in Atlanta.

Maddux, 62, of Newnan, was sentenced by United States District Judge William S. Duffey to one year, one month in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release, an $8,000 fine, and 250 hours of community service. Maddux was convicted on the charges on Aug. 14, after he pleaded guilty.

'Opiate abuse has risen to epidemic levels both in Georgia and nationally with deadly consequences,' said United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates. 'In a small dental practice where the defendant had known many of his patients for years, things quickly spiraled out of control as the number of prescriptions and addicted patients grew. This dentist, whether he was motivated by greed or was simply blind to the consequences, completely abandoned his responsibility as a health care provider, dispensing controlled substances to his patients without any regard for medical necessity.'

According to Yates, the charges and other information presented in court: Maddux owned a dental practice in Newnan until he sold it. Shortly after his practice was sold, it came to light that Maddux had written hundreds of prescriptions for controlled substances to his patients, many of whom were addicted to the drugs he prescribed.

In October 2011, DEA Diversion Investigators received a complaint from a source who wished to remain anonymous that Maddux was writing illegal prescriptions from his dental office, according to court officials. In response to the complaint, DEA investigators examined prescriptions from three pharmacies for controlled substances issued by Maddux to several patients named in the original complaint. Investigators discovered an unusually large number of narcotic prescriptions had been issued to these patients.

Shortly thereafter, investigators interviewed one of Maddux's patients who had been named in the original complaint as an abuser of opiate pain pills, according to court authorities. This patient was a long-time dental patient at Maddux's dental clinic. The patient explained that she received numerous controlled substance prescriptions from Maddux's dental office, even though she had not been examined by him for at least eight months. She admitted to being addicted to opiate pain pills.

In January 2012, investigators interviewed the owner of a nearby pharmacy, according to court officials. The owner told investigators that in early 2011 he became suspicious of the numerous prescriptions called in by Maddux's clinic. The pharmacy owner told Maddux that his pharmacy would no longer accept prescriptions from his dental office unless Maddux spoke with pharmacy staff and approved it. Investigators soon discovered that Maddux had issued hundreds of prescriptions for Schedule II narcotics between October 2009 and October 2011.

From March 2012 to October 2012, investigators interviewed several former patients, most of whom admitted to seeking Schedule II pain pills from Maddux for the purpose of supporting their drug addictions, according to court officials. Most of these patients routinely received prescriptions from Maddux without being examined, and many stated that prescriptions were left for them outside of the clinic for them to pick up after regular business hours. One patient even admitted to obtaining the prescriptions for the purpose of selling pills on the street.

On March 21, 2013, investigators interviewed Maddux. He confirmed his signature on numerous prescriptions that could not be accounted for in the patient's chart, according to court officials. Maddux also confirmed that he left prescriptions for controlled substances taped to the back door of his practice for his patients to pick up after business hours - a practice he conceded was ripe for abuse, court officials said. He acknowledged that many of the narcotic prescriptions he wrote were not medically necessary or supported by sound medical judgment.

Commented Harry S. Sommers, Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Atlanta Field Division, 'It is disturbing when health care providers break the law by unlawfully distributing pain medications. This individual distributed highly addicting opiates with total ill will and disregard for the safety of those receiving them.'

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