Kentucky

Kentucky doctor accused of pill trafficking agrees to give up his license permanently

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More than half a million people died between 2000 and 2015 from opioid use. In 2017 the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services declared the national opioid crisis a public health emergency.
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More than half a million people died between 2000 and 2015 from opioid use. In 2017 the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services declared the national opioid crisis a public health emergency.

A longtime Lawrenceburg doctor has agreed to surrender his license in contemplation of a guilty plea in a drug case, according to an order from the Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure.

The board released an order April 18 saying Dr. Kenneth Hines had given up his license and that the board would never consider a request for reinstatement.

Hines, 75, was charged in September 2017 with trafficking in a controlled substance.

Hines allegedly gave 52 morphine pills to a person who was cooperating with the Kentucky State Police in an investigation, according to the court file.

The informant tried to pay Hines $450 for the drugs, but he said to keep the money and the pills, according to a report included in the court file.

The informant told police Hines had written the informant prescriptions for hydrocodone and oxycodone in 2016 without conducting a physical examination.

Hines’ attorney contacted the state Board of Medical Licensure and said Hines intends to plead guilty to the trafficking charge, or perhaps an amended charge, based on the fact that he illegally transferred a controlled substance to an informant.

Hines’ surrender of his medical license was a consideration in negotiations over the plea, according to the order.

Hines was initially licensed in Kentucky in 1972 after medical school at the University of Louisville.

He had faced sanctions earlier, including a $5,000 fine in 2013 and a $1,000 fine in 2017, after the board found he had engaged in substandard prescribing practices.

Hines acknowledged he hadn’t kept current with changes the legislature approved to try to cut down on over-prescribing that was feeding abuse of pain pills, but said he was not a pill pusher.

“For forty years of service, I have tried to be a competent provider for my patients, their families and serve the community,” he said in a 2013 letter.

In October 2015, however, state police said Lawrenceburg police had raised a concern about Hines being involved in diverting prescription medication, according to information in the court file.

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