The owner of a treatment center that was a front for drug dealing in Tennessee has now been formally convicted of crimes related to the distribution of opioids. The doctor was prescribing opioids like Oxycontin to people who may have been seeking help for their addiction. Absolute Medical Care (AMC), owned by 54-year-old Hau T. La, MD, of Brentwood, was caught up in a scandal over the revelations in 2021. Now, he’s been convicted for the crimes, alongside many of his employees.
The trial revealed that while advertising addiction recovery services, Mr. La also prescribed highly addictive opioids to his clients. Many of them had come to him for help with beating their substance use disorder. Instead, they were manipulated and plied into silence with drugs while they paid in cash. Mr. La did not accept insurance.
Profiting Off The Addiction of His Patients
While it was never directly said in court, AMC was a drug provider. People came to him for help with opioid use disorder, and he instead continued to feed their addiction. He operated his business in a covert matter. He only took appointments on Friday, and each appointment lasted fewer than 15 minutes. People paid up to $300 cash for a visit.
The Department of Justice investigation spanned six states and eight federal districts. Several alleged treatment centers were involved, and the research yielded charges against 14 people.
Dr. La’s Drug Conviction: What’s Next
La was convicted of 12 counts of unlawful distribution of a controlled substance illegally. (The definition is “outside the usual course of professional practice and not for a legitimate medical purpose.”) Now that he has been convicted, he faces up to 20 years in prison for each count in his conviction. His sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 5, 2023.
“Today’s Opioid Enforcement Action highlights the Justice Department’s latest efforts in responding to the nation’s opioid epidemic, which last year alone caused the tragic loss of life for more than 75,000 people in the United States due to overdose,” said the Justice Department’s Criminal Division Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite, Jr. in a press release. “The Department of Justice will continue to work tirelessly with its partners to combat this epidemic and to seek to prevent the next tragic loss of life.”