Doctor charged for prescribing narcotics to non-patients and ordered detained until trial
Physician accused of illegally prescribing drugs was taken into custody Christmas Eve before boarding flight to South America
SAVANNAH, Ga. – A physician with clinics in Pooler, Ga., and Braselton, Ga., has been indicted for illegally prescribing drugs to non-patients and ordered held in custody pending trial in federal court.
Dr. Johnny Di Blasi, 46, of Braselton, Ga., is named in a nine-count indictment for conspiracy to unlawfully dispense controlled substances (oxycodone), unlawful dispensation of controlled substances (schedules II and IV) and false statements related to health care matters, said United States Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia Bobby L. Christine. Agents from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration took Di Blasi into custody Christmas Eve at Miami International Airport while he was waiting to board a flight to Medellin, Colombia.
As described in a criminal complaint and subsequent indictment, Di Blasi, known as “Dr. Johnny,” is accused of writing prescriptions for narcotics, including opioids and amphetamines, to non-patients. The complaint alleges Di Blasi wrote the prescriptions through clinics he operated in Pooler and Braselton to individuals traveling from at least 11 states. In addition, the complaint describes Di Blasi as providing prescriptions for opioid pain medications and amphetamines to non-patients he met in restaurants and bars. Four counts of the indictment charge Di Blasi with knowingly concealing the fact that the prescriptions he signed were issued for no legitimate medical purpose and not in the usual course of professional practice.
The indictment alleges the illegal behavior took place for more than a year, with the DEA initiating a formal investigation in March 2018.
“The sharp increase in consumption of opiates being distributed for non-medical reasons continues to be a major concern,” said DEA Atlanta Division Special Agent in Charge Robert J. Murphy. “To help combat this growing problem, DEA and its local law enforcement counterparts will continue to target those who traffic these addictive pain medications.”
“A key component of the opioid crisis gripping our nation is the supply chain provided by unscrupulous, profiteering medical professionals who violate the law while breaking their oath to ‘do no harm,’” said Southern District of Georgia U.S. Attorney Bobby L. Christine. “Even during the holidays, however, our law enforcement agencies and prosecutors will work to remove dangerous drug distributors from our communities, whether they are street-corner dealers or professionals in lab coats.”
“HHS OIG will continue to work with our law enforcement partners round-the-clock to aggressively pursue providers who abuse their position of trust,” said Derrick L. Jackson, special agent in charge for the Office of Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. “Providers who unscrupulously prescribe addictive drugs should know that our agents, no matter what the holiday, will continue in the fight against the opioid epidemic.”
“There are a lot of good doctors who take their medical oath seriously,” said Chatham-Savannah Counter Narcotics Team Director Everett Ragan. “This arrest is a prime example that we will seek all drug dealers no matter the holiday or what their day job or title is.”
An indictment contains only charges. Defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Matthew Josephson and Tom Clarkson are prosecuting the case for the United States.
The DEA encourages parents, along with their children, to educate themselves about the dangers of legal and illegal drugs by visiting DEA’s interactive websites at www.justthinktwice.com, www.GetSmartAboutDrugs.com and www.dea.gov. Also follow DEA Atlanta via Twitter at @DEAATLANTADiv.
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