‘Drug dealer with a medical license.’ Kentucky physician sentenced to prison

Roy Reynolds, a former doctor in Simpson County, has been sentenced to federal prison.
Roy Reynolds, a former doctor in Simpson County, has been sentenced to federal prison. Photo courtesy of Grayson County Detention Center

A Kentucky physician convicted of improper prescribing after having patients die of drug overdoses has been sentenced to four years and two months in federal prison.

Roy D. Reynolds, 69, also was ordered to pay a $25,000 fine by U.S. District Judge Greg N. Stivers.

Reynolds practiced in Franklin, in Simpson County, for more than 30 years before closing his office in 2015 while under investigation.

Attorneys for Reynolds described him in court documents as a pillar of the community, a family man and Christian who pushed for improvements in local medical care and devoted his career to serving patients.

Prosecutors, however, said Reynolds doled out prescriptions for painkillers called opioids, and for anti-anxiety drugs, to patients despite red flags about possible abuse.

For instance, Reynolds was aware that several patients were doctor-shopping — going to more than one physician for prescriptions — but continued to prescribe to them, prosecutors said in a court memorandum.

One patient overdosed five times while under Reynolds’ care, but he kept writing prescriptions for her, the memo said.

In another case, Reynolds attended a concert in Nashville with a patient and saw that he was high, later describing in a letter how the man was “snowed” that night, but continued prescribing opioid painkillers to him, according to the memo.

Reynolds prescribed oxycodone and Xanax to the man two days before he died of an overdose, according to the memo from Assistant U.S. Attorney David Weiser.

Prosecutors said that in 2012, Reynolds prescribed 139,667 oxycodone pills; the second most by a primary-care doctor in the county was 11,794.

Weiser’s memo said the drugs Reynolds “so liberally prescribed” caused the deaths of two patients and the overdoses of others.

Reynolds “became a drug dealer with a medical license,” U.S. Attorney Russell M. Coleman said in a release.

A jury convicted Reynolds on 15 charges of illegally prescribing controlled substances.

Reynolds will have to serve at least 85 percent of the sentence because there is no parole in the federal court system.