Paintsville Police say area safer since pain clinic closed

By: Angela Sparkman Email
By: Angela Sparkman Email

64 year old Doctor Richard Albert faces up to 20 years in prison after pleading guilty to federal charges of illegally distributing painkillers from his Johnson County clinic.

The Paintsville Police officers who helped start the investigation three years ago say the area is already safer.

Police say the investigation took three years and a lot of work between several different agencies, but they are pleased Doctor Albert pleaded guilty and his clinic is shut down permanently.

"That's a good thing it's closed," said Bill Holbrook, Paintsville Police Chief.

Paintsville Police say from 2008 to the beginning of this year, the pain clinic was crowded nearly every day.
"High volume of traffic, parking complaints, people staggering out in the parking lot," said Holbrook.

"They were coming for a lot of prescription painkilling drugs. Noticed a lot of out of county, even out of state license plates there waiting to see the doctor," said Detective Jonathan Epperson.

Paintsville Police say Dr. Albert was writing prescriptions for people with no medical problems.
Federal court records claim Dr. Albert was giving percocets for 200 dollars cash about 40-50 times per day.
Sometimes people did not even have to see the doctor to get a prescription.
Officers say Dr. Albert put 50,000 pain pills onto the streets and helped drive drug trade.

"He contributed to a lot. A lot of my officers would call me two or three o'clock in the morning and say, 'I've got a traffic stop, a DUI, and the name on these pain pill bottles was Dr. Richard Albert,'" said Holbrook.

Local police along with the DEA and Attorney General's office raided the clinic and closed it in February.

"We've noticed a decrease in the amount of overdose deaths since his clinic has been shut down," said Det. Epperson.

Monday, Dr. Albert pleaded guilty to the drug charges and was taken into custody. Now the clinic will stay closed.
"Our community was changed for the good," said Holbrook.

Dr. Albert will be sentenced in federal court on April 18th. As part of his plea agreement, he will forfeit more than $500,000 dollars he allegedly made in the drug scheme.

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