State

Richmond doctor allegedly gave Suboxone prescriptions to patients he didn’t see

A Richmond doctor improperly prescribed a drug used to treat people for addiction to opioId drugs such as oxycodone and heroin, a grand jury has charged.

The grand jury in Madison County indicted Dr. Martin A. Barrios on two counts of Medicaid fraud; one count of second-degree trafficking in a controlled substance; and one count of improperly dispensing, prescribing, distributing or administering a controlled substance, according to a news release from Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear.

Beshear’s office is handling the case.

Barrios, 48, of Lexington, allegedly signed prescriptions for buprenorphine and left them for a nurse to give to patients later, without being seen by the doctor.

He also is charged with billing Medicaid for providing services and prescriptions when he was actually out of town, according to the news release.

Buprenorphine, also known by the trade names Suboxone or Subutex, is a drug that helps block withdrawal symptoms when people are trying to stop abusing prescription painkillers or heroin.

The grand jury also indicted the nurse, 43-year-old Stacy J. Engle of Hazard, on one count of unauthorized dispensing, prescribing, distributing or administering a controlled substance, the release said.

Barrios faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted and Engle up to five, Beshear said.

Beshear’s office said the two worked at the Richmond Recovery Center, one of the offices of a business called The Recovery Center.

Beshear sued the business and four owners last month, alleging they improperly prescribed thousands of doses of buprenorphine and falsely claimed to offer patients required medical advice and individual treatment with prescriptions of the drug.

The Recovery Center has clinics in Richmond, Frankfort, Hazard, Jackson, Mount Sterling, London and Paintsville, Beshear’s office said.

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