MAY 29 (COLUMBUS, Ohio) –Terry Dragash, DO, 59, of Pataskala, Ohio, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court, in Columbus, Ohio, to conspiring to illegally distribute oxycodone.
Carter M. Stewart, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, Kathy Enstrom, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation (IRS), and James V. Allen, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) Detroit Field Division announced the plea, which was entered today before U.S. District Judge Gregory L. Frost.
According to testimony presented during the plea hearing, Dragash was employed as a physician at Columbus Southern Medical Clinic located at 2912 South High Street, Columbus, Ohio, from 2001 through 2011. During his employment at Columbus Southern, the conditions inside the clinic were less than ideal for the treatment of patients. Dragash, as well as other physicians working at the clinic were required to see between 50 and 100 patients a day, as well as supervise physician assistants, who were also seeing 50 or more patients a day.
Consequently, Dragash was spending an inadequate amount of time with patients to effectively diagnose and treat them. Furthermore, many of the patients being seen at Columbus Southern were drug seekers travelling long distances for the sole purpose of obtaining pain medications to support their drug addictions. Based on the preceding factors and others, Dragash, while employed at Columbus Southern, frequently prescribed controlled substances, including oxycodone and hydrocodone, to patients who were addicted to pain medications. Between January 1, 2003, and January 31, 2011, Dragash knowingly prescribed controlled substances, including 5500 milligrams of oxycodone, to Columbus Southern patients when there was no legitimate medical purpose and when it was outside the usual course of a professional practice.
Dragash pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute oxycodone. Federal law provides for penalties of up to 20 years in prison, a maximum fine of $1 million and at least three years of supervised release. Judge Frost will schedule a sentencing hearing following a pre-sentence investigation by the court.
U.S. Attorney Stewart commended the cooperative investigation by special agents of the IRS and the DEA Tactical Diversion Squad in addition to the work by the Columbus Division of Police, Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation, Licking County Sheriff’s Office, Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, Ohio State Board of Pharmacy, State Medical Board of Ohio, Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation, and Ohio Medicaid Fraud Control Unit in Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Ken Affeldt is prosecuting the case on behalf of the United States.