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Nashville Doctor Forged Signatures to Write Herself 60+ Prescriptions for Opioids, Xanax

A longtime Nashville doctor has lost her medical license after a state discipline board found that she forged signatures to write herself more than 60 prescriptions for opioids and other powerful drugs.

Dr. Suzanne Riva, 58, forged the name of her physician employer to prescribe herself two opioids, hydrocodone and oxycodone, and two drugs that are often abused in conjunction with opioids, carisoprodol and alprazolam, according to medical discipline records released by the Tennessee Department of Health.

Records also say that Riva forged her employer’s name to write prescriptions for coworkers and “shared her fraudulently obtained controlled substances with coworkers.”

Despite this claim, neither Riva’s employer nor her coworkers are identified in the discipline records released by the state. A state licensing database shows a house in Bellevue as her practice address, but does not identify any clinic where Riva worked.

Carisoprodol is a muscle relaxer sold under the brand name Soma. Alprazolam is a benzodiazepine broadly known as Xanax. Both drugs are most dangerous when mixed with opioids.

Riva's medical license was revoked last month by a vote of the Tennessee Board of Medical Examiners based on allegations submitted by investigators from the state health department. Riva did not attend the hearing to dispute the claims, so the board found her in default and decided the evidence presented by the state was sufficient to revoke her license. Riva was also ordered to pay $12,500 in fines.

Riva is a graduate of Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. She first received her medical license in 1994. Riva was previously disciplined in 2009 when her medical license was placed on probation after she was caught prescribing herself cough syrup that contained opioids, state records show.

Riva could not be reached for comment. Several phone numbers listed under her name in public records were either disconnected or wrong numbers.

The revocation of Riva’s medical license was revealed through a monthly discipline report by the Tennessee Department of Health, which maintains public records on licenses for doctors, nurses, chiropractors, massage therapists and other health care professionals throughout the state. More than 100 disciplinary actions were included in the latest monthly report.

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