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Licensed to Pill: Doctors who flood the country with opioids face little scrutiny, repercussions

Posted on Monday, March 5, 2018 at 10:24 am

(Raycom Media)
Shortly after Dr. Mark A. Murphy, a top opioid prescriber in the U.S., started practicing here three days a week last year, the clinic owners asked a police detective to meet for dinner.

Lewisburg Police Lt. Tom Miller thought the request seemed like a preemptive strike to keep the cops away from the Specialty Associates clinic.

“They wanted to stress with me they weren’t doing anything wrong,” said Miller, who served as a drug task force commander for 18 years before joining the Lewisburg force.

But Miller’s suspicions of the doctor were already amplified. He knew Murphy had been the No. 1 opioid prescriber in the federal Medicare program for years; that he closed his practices in Alabama when that state’s medical board accused him of writing excessive opioid prescriptions.

He also knew that many of Murphy’s patients were driving far distances to see him: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, and Mississippi.