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Wasilla doctor sentenced to close to 3 years in federal prison for overprescribing opioids to patients

Published: Jan. 18, 2022 at 7:15 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - A doctor in Wasilla has been sentenced to close to three years in federal prison for illegally prescribing narcotics to patients, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced Tuesday.

David Chisholm, 64, served patients in his medical practice at the Camelot Family Health clinic in Wasilla. According to court documents, he illegally prescribed thousands of pills of a highly addictive nature to his patients, including oxycodone, methadone, hydrocodone, morphine, tramadol and fentanyl. An investigation revealed he did so “without a legitimate medical purpose,” a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office District of Alaska states.

Chisholm’s prescribing practices contributed to the overdose deaths of at least five patients, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

According to the release, Chisholm routinely distributed controlled substances to patients without administering a medical exam first.

“At one point Chisholm’s practices became so egregious that Walmart refused to continue filling prescriptions he had written,” the release states. “In response, he instructed his staff to tell patients to go to other pharmacies.”

The investigation showed that between January 2014 and October 2019, Chisholm wrote more than 20,000 prescriptions for opioids to about 350 patients, according to the release.

Chisholm pleaded guilty in June 2021, and as part of a plea agreement, he was to surrender his medical license. According to Tuesday’s press release, Chisholm acknowledged as part of the plea agreement that his actions “were a significant contributing factor” in the overdose deaths of those five patients between 2016 and 2018.

“Dr. Chisholm’s reckless conduct reflects a shocking disregard for the welfare of his patients,” U.S. Attorney John E. Kuhn, Jr. of the District of Alaska said in the press release. “Nothing can excuse his opioid prescribing practices in light of what is today universally understood about the risks of opioid use disorder and opioid overdose.”

In addition to 34 months in federal prison, Chisholm was sentenced to three years of supervised released as well as a $25,000 fine.

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