Federal prosecutors said Friday that a former St. Clair Shores doctor was found guilty of a number of prescription drug crimes, including one that led to death from an overdose.
Bernard Shelton, 66, was convicted of 21 charges by a jury in U.S. District Court in Detroit in a trial that began in late February, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Detroit. He is facing a prison sentence of 20 years or more.
In October 2017, Shelton was charged.
“Doctors who dangerously prescribe opiates for their own profit endanger the community just like other drug dealers,” U.S. Attorney Dawn Ison said in the release. “When a doctor causes an overdose death with an illegal prescription, we will not hesitate to hold the doctor accountable.”
A Second Overdose Killed Someone
“My office is committed to keeping highly addictive opioids off the street, and we will aggressively investigate and prosecute medical professionals or anyone else who sells controlled substances illegally.”
Prosecutors said that Shelton started giving opioid painkillers to a patient in 2010 who had been taking prescription-strength Motrin to treat pain. Over the next six years, he kept giving the patient stronger controlled substances, and the patient became addicted.
Shelton gave the 54-year-old patient an illegally high dose of oxycodone on January 14, 2016, and the patient filled the prescription four days later. The patient overdosed two days later but was given Narcan and lived.
The patient died on January 24, 2016, after taking too much oxycodone for the second time.
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“What Can I Give You Today?” Was Written on Millions of Opioid Prescriptions
Prosecutors also said that between April 2013 and December 2016, Shelton gave out more than 5.5 million doses of controlled substances. They said that prescriptions included more than 2.7 million doses of drugs like oxycodone and hydrocodone, whose most valuable types and strengths are sold on the street.
When an undercover patient with back pain went to see Shelton for the first time, the doctor didn’t look at the patient’s back and instead asked, “What can I give you today?“
” before writing the prescriptions for the drugs that were asked for”, the release said.
It also said that Shelton gave 21 prescriptions to seven patients who didn’t need them for no good medical reason. He did this so he could get paid for office visits and tests. The prosecutors said that Medicare, Medicaid, and Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Michigan gave him more than $1.4 million.
According to the release and state records, Shelton hasn’t been able to prescribe controlled substances since January 2017. This is because his license was taken away.
Shelton’s bond was changed on Friday to a $10,000 personal, unsecured bond with house arrest and GPS tracking. He can go to church if he gets permission ahead of time, and court records say he has to turn himself in on Monday.
On July 20, he will get his sentence. In a press release, prosecutors said that Shelton is facing a mand
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