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GetSmart About Drugs - A DEA Resource for Parents

News Release
September 1, 2005

Greenwood Doctor Sentenced to 360 Months
Illegal Distribution of Prescription Drugs

Columbia, S.C.- DEA Atlanta Field Division Special Agent in Charge Sherri F. Strange and United States Attorney Jonathan S. Gasser stated that Ronald A. MCIVER, age 61, of Hodges, South Carolina, was sentenced in federal court in Spartanburg for conspiracy to dispense and distribute Schedule II controlled substances, a violation of Title 21, United States Code, Section 846; and for distributing and dispensing Schedule II controlled substances, violations of Title 21, United States Code, Section 841 (a)(1). United States District Judge Henry F. Floyd of Spartanburg sentenced MCIVER to 360 months in federal prison.

MCIVER was found guilty after a jury trial last April. Evidence presented during the trial revealed that MCIVER, an osteopath, operated a pain therapy clinic in Greenwood from 2001 until April 2004. Several witnesses testified that as drug addicts and drug abusers, they traveled to Greenwood from other cities to receive prescriptions from MCIVER for Schedule II controlled substances such as oxycodone, hydromorphone, and methadone (opiods). Evidence was also presented that although MCIVER claimed to suspect several of the questionable patients; he continued to prescribe for them. Other patients testified that they became addicted to the high doses of the prescribed opiod drugs and had to return for more or became ill. Testimony also revealed that in May 2003, one of MCIVER’s patients died from respiratory depression due to an overdose of oxycodone.

Various pharmacists, a toxicologist, and medical experts testified that MCIVER should have been aware of certain “red flags” that legitimate pain practitioners would have recognized in some of the addicts that MCIVER had seen. One expert witness reviewed files that had been seized from MCIVER’s clinic, as well as prescriptions that MCIVER had written for those patients. The expert testified that MCIVER’s prescribing treatment in some cases was outside the course of usual medical practice, and was for other than legitimate purposes.

The jury made a special finding that a person had died as a result of the Schedule II controlled substance distributed by MCIVER.

Before imposing sentence, Judge Floyd noted that MCIVER’s actions were “serious offenses,” and the sentence imposed was “necessary to deter” similar criminal conduct. DEA Special Agent in Charge Strange stated, "DEA supports and encourages licensed practioners to responsibly prescribe and manage pain care for patients in need of the outstanding, but potentially addictive pain medicines that are available on the market today. However, the abuse of prescription drugs will always be a priority with DEA and will not be tolerated."

Questions may be directed to DEA AFD PIO Ruth Porter-Whipple at 404-893-7128.

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