U.S. Attorney Dak Kees of Fayetteville announced charges today against Dr. Lonnie Joseph Parker of Texarkana for overprescribing drugs.
He was indicted last week and arrested in Texarkana today on nine counts of prescribing without a legitimate medical purpose. He’s in custody currently, the U.S. attorney’s office said.
The investigation began in 2018 after complaints from local law enforcement about a suspected pill mill and possible overdose death of a patient. Said a release from Kees’ office:
Investigators analyzed prescription drug monitoring data attributed to Dr. Parker, and the investigation revealed Dr. Parker was an over-prescriber of controlled substances, to include opiates, benzodiazepines, and promethazine with codeine cough syrup in the Texarkana area. In the two-year period analyzed, Dr. Parker prescribed approximately 1.2 million dosage units of opiates, including oxycodone and hydrocodone, to approximately 1,508 patients (approximately 847 dosage units per patient). Dr. Parker also prescribed approximately 16 gallons of Promethazine with Codeine cough syrup to approximately 29 patients during the same time period. These prescriptions included several prescriptions written in combination with narcotics and sedatives to high diversion risk patients.
KTHV reported on similar complaints about Parker last week when the state Medical Board lifted an earlier suspension but instructed him to reduce prescription rates for certain cough syrups and ketamine and fined him $4,500. He contended he’d followed proper protocols in prescriptions. He has said he’sstudied pain management extensively and suggested he was being pursued for his past.
It is the latest in a series of high-profile encounters with the law. He was convicted in 1998 of possession of child pornography, a charge upheld on appeal in the face of his strenuous denials and allegations of prosecutorial misconduct. He was allowed to resume practice in 2006, but emerged in the news again when the Arkansas legislature passed a law preventing anyone with a sexual offense from participating in Medicaid. The law was aimed at Parker, then practicing in Hope.