So far this year, the Supreme Court has found amazing ways to rile up the best and worst of many Americans. Their decision-making has been leaked out by someone within their offices when it came to Roe v Wade, and now they are making more decisions that are certain to change the course of American history, and how things are being conducted around the country.
Given the number of prescription drug overdoses in the U.S. each year, the high propensity for abuse, and the links between opiate-based pain pills and the use of heroin, many assumed there was no way the SCOTUS would back the doctors. How wrong we all were on that assumption.
Justice Stephen Breyer (appointed many years ago by Bill Clinton) wrote the decision, with a unanimous ruling in the doctor’s favor, but only six endorsing Breyer’s standard for conviction. In this ruling, Breyer stated that prosecutors “must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant knowingly or intentionally acted in an unauthorized manner.” They stopped short of overturning the conviction of two doctors who were at the center of this hearing. Instead, they ordered the federal appeals courts to take a new look at their cases.
Shakeel Kahn, who practiced medicine in Ft. Mohave, Arizona, and Casper, Wyoming, and Xiulu Ruan of Mobile, Alabama were the two doctors. Currently, Kahn is facing up to 25 years, and Ruan is serving a 21-year bid.
Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar, the Biden administration’s top Supreme Court lawyer made a written filing for the case. She stated that these two doctors “enriched themselves through a long-running scheme of unlawfully issuing prescriptions for addictive and potent controlled substances, in response to their own financial incentives rather than the legitimate medical needs of their patients.”
In total, the two doctors grossed $20 million between 2012 and 2015, and in 2014 alone they wrote 66,892 prescriptions. For Kahn alone, in six years he wrote over 15,000 prescriptions for controlled substances. This totaled out to 2.2 million pills, with nearly half oxycodone.
A level of disbalance like this will always raise red flags. While they are being given their day in court like any criminal can, they are profiting greatly off the additions of others. 1.1 million or so oxycodone pills over six years is an astronomical figure when you consider that it is typically given in smaller and short doses to prevent addiction issues for people.
It gets even stranger as Kahn allegedly only performed the most basic of exams before writing scripts. No real understanding of the patient’s history, what was wrong with them, or even trying to make a judgment call based on their past visits. Once the drug seekers learn how easily they wrote scripts they not only would have new patients, but they also would have gotten their current patients addicted.
Once addicted, these patients would begin having problems with this high. Often referred to as chasing the dragon with heroin, they would be seeking the relief and high that they were able to get the first few times. They wanted to feel as good as they had felt before, and it would become harder. That means the script runs out faster, and back they were seeing their docs sooner or trying to buy them on the street to keep that same level of relief.
For many, this was the root cause of all their problems. Some doctor thinks they mean well by prescribing heavy-duty opiates to people to provide them relief, and not monitoring them. Others seem to know exactly what they are doing and are more than happy to perform the task as often as possible to increase their bottom line. The difference between the two is simple but subtle; those doing it intentionally have numbers like these, while the accidental is much, much lower.
Meanwhile, it looks like SCOTUS is keeping us guessing about how they’ll rule on a case next. It just proves that they are very much nonpartisan in their approach.