March 14, 2011
Contact: SA Timothy Desmond
Phone Number: 617-557-2100
United States Settles Potential Drug Diversion Matter Involving Rutland Psychiatrist
BOSTON, MA. - Steven W. Derr, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration for New England and The Office of the United States Attorney for the District of Vermont stated that it has settled potential claims against Alban J. Coghlan, M.D., a psychiatrist who at the time in question operated a medical practice in Rutland, Vermont. The United States contends that in 2006 and 2007, Dr. Coghlan was authorized to handle controlled substances under a DEA registration, and that such authorization required Dr. Coghlan to timely report to DEA certain significant events concerning controlled substances, such as theft and destruction, and to account for any diversion. The United States contends that in December 2006 and January 2007, Dr. Coghlan failed to report the theft of Lorazepam on two occasions; failed to account for the drugs diverted by theft; destroyed Lorazepam on at least two occasions; supervised the destruction of Ambien; failed to account for the destruction of controlled substances; and failed to maintain a required register. Dr. Coghlan would be liable for a civil penalty of $10,000 for each violation should the United States prevail at a trial. To avoid the delay, uncertainty and expense of litigation, the parties agreed to a settlement prior to the filing of a lawsuit. The settlement reached between the United States and Dr. Coghlan required Dr. Coghlan to pay $22,500 to the United States to settle all civil monetary claims under the drug diversion statute.
United States Attorney Tristram Coffin noted that drug diversion reporting and accounting requirements are a significant part of the statutory scheme developed by Congress to prevent drug diversion and abuse.
The United States was represented by Assistant United States Attorney Carol L. Shea. Dr. Coghlan was represented by R. Joseph O’Rourke, Esq., of Ryan Smith & Carbine, Ltd. The matter was investigated by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.