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Two East Tennessee Doctors Plead Guilty to Overprescribing Opioids as Part of Federal Bust

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Two East Tennessee doctors have pleaded guilty in a federal probe into the over-prescription of opioid drugs.

Dr. Frank McNeil, M.D., 78, of Knoxville and Dr. Samuel McGaha, 69, of Sevierville were each charged with one count of unlawful distribution of a controlled substance. They pleaded guilty this week in federal court.

They will be sentenced on March 26, 2020.

According to the release, McNeil's charges stemmed from his allegedly prescribing high doses of opioids with no medical legitimacy, while failing to perform urine drug screens and obtain any imaging. McGaha's stem from his role as a family practitioner in Morristown, Tennessee, who prescribed opioids and other medications without a legitimate medical purpose.

From 2015 until March 2018, Mcgaha and McNiel prescribed 212,226 and 59,712 opioid pills, respectively.

The DEA, TBI, FBI and HHS-OIG investigated the cases.

The Justice Department announced in Sept. the second coordinated law enforcement action of the Appalachian Region Prescription Opioid (ARPO) strike force, resulting in charges against 13 individuals across five Appalachian federal districts for alleged offenses relating to the over-prescription of controlled substances through “pill mill” clinics.

Of those charged in the probe, 12 were charged for their role in unlawfully distributing opioids and other controlled substances and 11 were physicians.

The alleged conduct resulted in the distribution of more than 17 million pills.

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