Two East Tennessee doctors plead guilty to drug charges

13 people, including 11 doctors, charges in federal drug takedown / Source: (Canva)

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) — According to a release from the Department of Justice, Samuel Mcgaha, M.D., of Sevierville, Tennessee, and Frank McNiel, M.D., of Knoxville, Tennessee, each pleaded guilty to one count of unlawful distribution of a controlled substance.

New details reveal that McNiel admitted to prescribing high doses of opioids from his home and without evaluating patients.

Mcgaha admitted to writing prescriptions for opioids even for patients who tested positive for non-prescribed substances and illicit drugs.

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

13 individuals, including McNiel and Mcgaha, were charged in a drug takedown investigation conducted by the Appalachian Regional Prescription Opioid Task Force.

11 of the 13 people charged are doctors. Officials said they all face charges of felony controlled substances violations. Officials said that together, the charges represent 17 million opioid pills which were illegally prescribed and put out onto the street.

Frank McNeil, M.D., 78, of Knoxville, Tennessee, was charged with one count of unlawful distribution of controlled substances. The charges stem from McNeil’s role in prescribing high doses of opioids with no medical legitimacy while failing to perform urine drug screens and obtain any imaging.

Samuel Mcgaha, M.D., 69, of Sevierville, Tennessee, was charged with one count of unlawful distribution of controlled substances. The charges stem from Mcgaha’s role as a family practitioner in Morristown, Tennessee, who prescribed opioids and other medications without a legitimate medical purpose.

According to court documents, Dr. McGaha, who practices submitted a guilty plea in relation to the charges. He faces a maximum of 20 years behind bars and a fine of up to $1 million.

Copyright 2019 WVLT. All rights reserved.