According to ABC News, a 42 year old doctor paid little attention to the medical histories of her patients and her disregard has resulted in three deaths from prescription drug overdose. Although it is rare to see a physician left with murder charges upon a patients’ death, it is even more unusual to see one charged with criminal homicide, as was the case here.
The DEA reports that since 2003, there have been over 200 doctors either arrested or convicted due to connections with patient drug overdoses. The California doctor was arrested last Thursday and charged with the murders of three people all under the age of 30.
In 2008 alone, nearly 15,000 people overdosed in the United States and died from prescription painkillers. The DEA says many young people believe prescription drugs to be much safer than illegal drugs.
In fact, in 2009, seven million Americans from age 12 or older reported using and abusing prescription drugs for purposes not related to medical reasons. This was a 13 percent increase from 2008 where some six million said they did so.
Steve Cooley, the Los Angeles District Attorney, said Dr. Tseng was most likely prescribing painkillers that weren’t needed in the first place but were feeding someone’s habit.
Undercover DEA officers had been investigating Tseng’s practice for several years and reported she had written some 27,000 prescriptions in one month alone in 2007, according to KABC-TV. Dr. Tseng eventually surrendered her medical license after the DEA suspended her ability to write prescriptions a few years ago.
Several witnesses allege problems from Tseng’s medical practices and claim she over prescribed but we will have to wait out the verdict from the jury.