So far this year, the Supreme Court has found amazing ways to stir up the worst and best of Americans. The Court's decisions have been divulged by someone in their offices in relation to Roe v. Wade, and now they're making decisions that will alter the direction of American history and the way things are going on around the nation.
With the high amount of overdoses from prescription drugs within the U.S. each year, the high rate of abuse and the connections between painkillers containing opiates and heroin use, there could be no way that SCOTUS would be supportive of bad doctors. What a mistake we made with that notion.
Justice Stephen Breyer (appointed to the bench by Bill Clinton) wrote the decision. The decision was a unanimous decision in favor of the doctor; however, only six of them endorsed Breyer's criteria for conviction. In his decision, Breyer stated that prosecutors “must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant knowingly or intentionally acted in an unauthorized manner.” The court did not decide to overturn the convictions of two doctors in the center of the hearing. Instead, they directed the Federal appeals court to have a fresh examination of their cases.
Shakeel Kahn who was a physician for a number of years in Ft. Mohave, Arizona as well as Casper, Wyoming, and Xiulu Ruan of Mobile, Alabama were the two doctors. Presently, Kahn is facing up to 25 years in prison, while Ruan has been serving the 21-year term.
Attorney General Elizabeth Prelogar, the Biden administration's most senior Supreme Court lawyer, made a written statement in support of the case. She said that the two physicians “enriched themselves through a long-running scheme of unlawfully issuing prescriptions for addictive and potent controlled substances, in response to their own financial incentives rather than the legitimate medical needs of their patients.”
In all, the two doctors earned $20 million between 2012 and 2015 and, in 2014 alone, they issued 66,892 prescriptions. The case of Kahn alone is that, in just six years, he wrote more than 15,000 prescriptions to treat controlled substances. That's 2.2 million tablets, of which more than half being oxycodone.
An imbalance of this magnitude is sure to signal red flags. Although they're getting their due in court, as any other criminal should, they are making huge profits by the additions of others. 1.1 million or more oxycodone tablets over six years is a staggering amount when you consider it is generally taken in smaller, shorter doses to avoid addiction issues for individuals.
It's even more bizarre as Kahn claimed to have only conducted the most basic tests prior to writing scripts. They had no knowledge of the history of the patient or what went wrong or even making an informed decision in light of their previous visit. When drug addicts discover how easy they wrote scripts, they would not only be able to attract new clients, but they could have hooked their current patients.
After becoming addicted, the patients were prone to issues with the high. It is often described as “chasing the dragon” because they were looking for the relief and sensation of high they experienced in the beginning. They were hoping to feel as great as they did before, but it was becoming more difficult. This means that the script runs out quicker, and then they have to see their doctor earlier or try to purchase them off the streets to maintain the same feeling of satisfaction.
For many people, this was the main reason for all their issues. A few doctors believe they are doing good when they prescribe opiates of high-quality for people in order to offer relief, and not observing their use. Some seem to be aware of what they're doing and are happy to do the job frequently to boost their profits. The distinction between the two is subtle but not obvious; people who are doing it with intent are able to show these numbers but the unintentional is significantly lower.
In the meantime, it appears that SCOTUS keeps us wondering how they'll decide on a case the next time. This just shows that they're non-partisan in their approach.