A Las Vegas medical doctor will spend the next two years behind bars for illegally selling painkillers.
Dr. James Tinnell, 74, pleaded guilty last Oct. to selling prescriptions for powerful and highly-addictive painkillers. He was sentenced to two years in prison followed by two years of supervised release.
"Dr. Tinnell is one of 70 persons, including four doctors, charged federally in Nevada over the last two years with unlawfully distributing prescription painkillers," said U.S. Attorney Daniel G. Bogden. "The abuse of prescription drugs in Las Vegas is a serious problem. My office has, and will continue to devote substantial resources towards protecting the community from the harms that result when corrupt physicians breach their duty to prescribe dangerous drugs responsibly."
Dr. Tinnell, who had a medical practice on Desert Inn Road and had been practicing medicine in Nevada for nearly 30 years, represented himself as a pain management specialist who advocated medical marijuana therapy.
In his plea agreement he admitted to unlawfully to writing prescriptions for painkillers to two patients who had no need for them.
Those patients were actually undercover law enforcement officers.
In each case Dr. Tinnell failed to perform even a cursory physical examination and did not refer the patients to a specialist or physical therapist.
Dr. Tinnell prescribed a total of 470 pills of oxycodone to the two patients, which is used for short-term pain management and can be highly addictive.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, every year nearly 15,000 people die from overdoses involving painkillers oxycodone and hydrocodone – more than die from heroin and cocaine combined.
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