Wheelersburg pill mill owner sentenced
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The owner of a medical clinic in southern Ohio that authorities allege was a notorious drug house that illegally doled out large numbers of prescription painkillers was sentenced Friday to 10 years in prison.
George Adkins, of West Portsmouth, had pleaded guilty last month to five felony counts involving drug trafficking, corrupt activity and forgery related to the clinic he ran until December 2011. He was sentenced by Scioto County Judge William Marshall.
Authorities say Adkins' Greater Medical Advance was the last so-called pill mill in Scioto County before it was shut down. They allege the Wheelersburg clinic was a well-known destination for addicts that existed to generate money for its operators.
Scioto County was once home to more than a dozen of the clinics, criticized as drugs-on-demand facilities that only accepted cash and which did cursory reviews of patients' medical problems before prescribing drugs.
"Adkins allowed an overwhelming amount of prescription drugs to leave his clinic knowing those pills would only be abused," Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said in a statement.
A message left with Adkins' attorney was not immediately returned.
One of the clinic's doctors, Victor Georgescu, faced similar charges following his indictment last year but died in August before trial.
Tammy Newman, a former business partner of Adkins and part-time clinic owner, was sentenced Friday to nearly five years in prison following a guilty plea to charges of conspiracy to engage in a pattern of corrupt activity and permitting drug abuse.
Documents painted a picture of an operation where pills were readily dispensed to just about anybody who could pay, and the office's standard dosage was dubbed a "Portsmouth cocktail" after the nearby county seat.
So many patients brought in nonpatients seeking drugs that the clinic had to post a sign limiting the number of visitors, according to a charging document. Husbands and wives often received the same prescriptions, as did people living at the same address, raising suspicions that drugs were prescribed with little or no diagnosis.
Clients could pay extra to have their prescriptions increased, and the "Portsmouth cocktail" was often dispensed to convicted drug dealers and addicts, according to the documents.
Many patients traveled long distances, sometimes from other states, bypassing other clinics and pharmacies, documents said. Many patients appeared stoned while at the clinic, and unsigned prescriptions or prescriptions with stamped signatures were found, in violation of Ohio law.
Georgescu frequently wrote prescriptions that lasted longer and with higher and stronger dosages than other doctors, according to a search warrant request. During one nine-month stretch, more than 14,000 prescriptions were written.