News Release
March 29, 2007

Doctor Indicted For Prescribing Fentanyl Resulting In Death

MAR 29 -- A physician operating in Macomb County was indicted by a federal grand jury in Detroit on charges of prescribing Fentanyl for a non-legitimate medical purpose which resulted in the death of a patient, as well as distributing Schedule II and Schedule III pain medications without a legitimate medical purpose and outside the course of professional practice United States Attorney Stephen J. Murphy announced today.

Murphy was joined in the announcement by Special Agent in Charge Robert Corso of the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Named in the indictment is Dr. Larry White, 65 of Rochester, Michigan.

The twenty-six-count indictment charges that between 2003 and 2006, Dr. White dispensed Fentanyl and other controlled substances in the Eastern District of Michigan. In particular, the indictment alleges that on July 14, 2003, White distributed Fentanyl to a patient. The indictment further charges that that patient died on July 17, 2003 as a result of his use of the Fentanyl distributed to him by White. White also is charged with distributing Percocet and Percodan as well as hydrocodone products including Vicodin, Lortab and Norco.

“Today’s charges illustrate the tragedy and loss of life that can be caused when a physician abuses his authority to prescribe controlled substances. Any medical professional who seeks to profit from the rising demand for illegal prescription drugs should know that they are risking more than their medical license,” said United States Attorney Murphy.

“This indictment serves as a warning to all physicians that if you prescribe medication for personal gain you will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. In the eyes of the Drug Enforcement Administration you are no different than a common street drug dealer and will face the same harsh penalties,” said Special Agent in Charge Corso.

Under federal law, the distribution of controlled substances resulting in death carries a mandatory minimum penalty of 20 years in prison. Any sentence in this case will be imposed under the federal Sentencing Guidelines based on the nature of the offense and the criminal background, if any, of the defendant.

An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government's burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

The case was investigated by Diversion Investigators of the Drug Enforcement Administration.