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Doctor suspended during overdose death probe

By: Andy Cunningham Email
By: Andy Cunningham Email

The state has suspended the medical license of a Danville psychiatrist as officials investigate allegations that at least 12 of his patients in eastern Kentucky died of drug overdoses in the past year.

The state Board of Medical Licensure issued an emergency order of suspension for Dr. Melborne Williams that prohibits him from "performing any act which constitutes the practice of medicine."

According to Clay County Sheriff Kevin Johnson where the investigation started, Williams over-prescribed Xanax and other prescription medications to patients regardless of their diagnosis.

"I think his master plan was obviously to make money." said Sheriff Johnson.

He says during the investigation it was determined all twelve people who died of overdoses in Clay County had ties to Dr. Williams in Danville.

"Usually when they died, there was a two or three day period of time where they had went and seen Dr. Williams."

According to the state medical board Williams prescribed more than 1.3 million Xanax tablets on 12,622 separate prescriptions between April 2011 and March of this year, making him the leading prescriber of Xanax in Kentucky.

"We even tracked patients coming as far away as Georgia," said the sheriff.

He says Williams was prescribing excessive amounts of Xanax and other drugs, First, at Centex in Danville where he worked for a short time. Then at a practice he opened on Lexington Avenue in Danville.

According to the Emergency Order of Suspension, "Several drug informants in drug enforcement cases identified Williams as a reliable source of Xanax."

It also states "Patients began complaining 'Junkies' were hanging around the practice."

A child in the parking lot of Centex was overheard in the parking lot, asking "Mommy, do you want me to pee in a cup again?" According to the report.

"When it becomes profits above patient care, this is what you usually end up with," Johnson said.

He also said the investigation is on-going and criminal charges are possible.

In addition to suspending his medical license, the board also ordered Williams undergo a neuropsychological evaluation.


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