LONDON — A former Cincinnati doctor who was a key source of prescription pills for a large drug ring in Eastern Kentucky has been sentenced to 48 months in prison.
Lloyd Stanley Naramore pleaded guilty to conspiring to distribute methadone.
U.S. District Judge Gregory F. Van Tatenhove sentenced Naramore on Thursday in federal court.
Naramore is the final person to be sentenced in one of the largest schemes uncovered in Eastern Kentucky involving people who traveled out of state to get prescriptions for pills, then brought the drugs home to abuse and sell.
That problem has increased in recent years as people sought to avoid scrutiny by authorities in Kentucky and the state's prescription-tracking system. South Florida has been a key destination for people seeking pills.
Naramore was one of 22 people charged as part of a conspiracy headed by Timothy Wayne Hall of Floyd County.
Most were from the Floyd County area, but those charged included doctors in Cincinnati and Philadelphia and a Cincinnati pharmacist.
Scores of people from the Floyd County area went to clinics in Louisiana, Philadelphia and Cincinnati from 2001 to 2007 to get prescriptions for methadone, Percocet and other pills, according to court documents.
More than 100 people from Eastern Kentucky went to Naramore's office — about four hours one way — to get prescriptions, according to his plea agreement.
Naramore didn't think the drugs were medically necessary for many of them but wrote the prescriptions so he could hang on to his $3,000-a-week job, according to his plea agreement.
Naramore knew it was likely the Eastern Kentucky patients were selling the drugs illegally, he acknowledged.
Van Tatenhove noted Naramore faced financial hardships but said that was no excuse for breaking the law.
The judge said it is troubling to see Kentucky residents go out of state for pills to sell and abuse — a problem to which Naramore contributed.
"We see how damaging that is in our communities," Van Tatenhove said.
Naramore was responsible for distributing 50,000 methadone pills, his plea agreement said.
The case has led to charges in a related investigation involving employees of the company that ran the clinic where Naramore worked.
Stephen M. Lyon, former chief officer of Urgent Care Services, and Tonia Snook, a former company employee, have been charged with conspiring to distribute methadone.
The investigation is continuing, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Roger West.
Court records indicate that Michael D. Leman, president of the company, also has been charged in Kentucky.
The charges have not been released, but Leman is under home incarceration in Louisiana awaiting indictment, court records show.
Urgent Care Services operated offices in Louisiana, Philadelphia and Cincinnati where people from Eastern Kentucky went to get prescriptions, according to court documents.