Crime

Long Beach doctor, 72, faces more than 50 charges of illegal painkiller prescriptions

Mayo Clinic Minute: Prescription drugs are the changing face of addiction

According to Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, addiction to prescription opioid painkillers is real. Of the 21.5 million Americans 12 or older who had a substance use disorder in 2014, 1.9 million involved prescription pills.
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According to Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, addiction to prescription opioid painkillers is real. Of the 21.5 million Americans 12 or older who had a substance use disorder in 2014, 1.9 million involved prescription pills.

A pain management doctor in Long Beach, Robert Wiemer, is facing federal indictment on 59 federal charges related to illegally prescribing pain killers, muscle relaxers and sedatives.

Federal authorities say Wiemer spent more than $270,000 in ill-gotten gains on a Harley Davidson motorcycle, off-road vehicle, race car, debt payments and property in Saucier and Texas. The federal government wants to confiscate the property.

A news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office says maximum penalties vary on each of the charges, from up to five years to up to 20 years in prison. The news release says the 72-year-old is from Stephenville, Texas.

Wiemer is charged with one count of conspiracy to distribute controlled substances outside the scope of his medical practice, 51 counts of distributing those narcotics to specific, unnamed patients, six counts of spending or trying to spend money gained from illegal activity, and one count of maintaining a drug-involved premises on Klondyke Road, where his practice is located.

Federal authorities claim he began illegally prescribing the drugs as early as 2014.

The indictment against him was unsealed Monday morning. His trial has been initially set for March 11 before U.S. District Judge Sul Ozerden.

“Physicians who violate our criminal laws by illegally dispensing dangerous drugs to our colleagues, neighbors and families are literally destroying lives and contributing to the opioid epidemic,” U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst said Monday afternoon in a news release announcing the charges.

“One of the primary ways to reverse the opioid crisis is to prosecute those who illegally distribute prescription narcotics. Our office will continue to protect the public by pursuing and prosecuting doctors and others who seek to profit off addiction and the misery of others.”

Wiemer could not be reached to comment.

Anita Lee is a Mississippi native who specializes in investigative, court and government reporting. She has covered South Mississippi’s biggest stories in her decades at the Sun Herald, including the Dixie Mafia, public corruption and Hurricane Katrina, a Pulitzer Prize-winning effort. Nothing upsets her more than government secrecy and seeing people suffer.


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