Crime

Doctor found guilty of prescribing opioids without seeing patients

Attorney General Sessions touts opioid policy in Raleigh

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions was in Raleigh Tuesday afternoon to speak about the Trump administration's plan to combat the nation's opioid crisis.
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U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions was in Raleigh Tuesday afternoon to speak about the Trump administration's plan to combat the nation's opioid crisis.

A doctor from Fayetteville was convicted in federal court Tuesday of prescribing high-strength oxycodone in large amounts with little or no examination of the people for whom he was writing the prescriptions.

Donovan Dave Dixon, 51, of Fayetteville was found guilty of 20 counts of unlawfully distributing oxycodone, as well as conspiracy to distribute the opioid.

At trial, prosecutors contended that Dixon worked with a local drug dealer to provide prescriptions in the names of certain people in exchange for cash.

Witnesses testified they had never met Dixon even though he had written hundreds of prescriptions in their name.

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The drug dealer testified that Dixon’s prescriptions had provided him with drugs to sell on Robeson County streets.

The charges against Dixon came about after the federal Drug Enforcement Agency noticed that four of the pharmacies in the state's top 10 for prescribing oxycodone were in Lumberton, about 12 miles east of Pembroke.

The DEA launched a probe.

The state Medical Board also conducted an investigation.

VIDEO: N.C. Attorney General Josh Stein tells why the opioid crisis was his top priority in his first year on the job during an interview in his office in Raleigh on Feb. 14, 2018.

Dixon, who was licensed by the state in 2010, was reprimanded in 2014. In April 2015, his license to prescribe controlled substances was limited and restricted, according to state Medical Board records.

In July 2016, Dixon voluntarily surrendered his license, those records show.

More than half million people have died between 2000 and 2015 from opioids. Today, opioid deaths are considered an epidemic. To understand the struggle individuals undergo once addicted to these drugs, we take a closer look at what happens to your

RAL_ 041718-JEFF SESSIONS-T
U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, Robert J. Higdon Jr, left, shakes hands U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, before Sessions spoke about the Trump administration's plan to combat the nation's opioid crisis Tuesday, April 17, 2018 at the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina in Raleigh. Travis Long tlong@newsobserver.com

Bobby Higdon, the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina — 44 counties from Raleigh to the coast — announced the verdict on Wednesday while U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions was in Raleigh to discuss the opioid crisis and the Trump administration's plans to attack it.

"These kinds of abuses are way too common," Sessions said during his brief speech that was open to the media.

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Higdon said his office was "aggressively moving against all individuals who illegally distribute prescription drugs."

"Whether those illegally pushing these drugs are on the street or operating from a doctor’s office, we will pursue you, charge you and convict you," he added.

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