Indictments announced in illegal drug prescripton crackdown

Indictments were announced Thursday against 15 West Tennessee residents, including several medical doctors and nurse practitioners, for illegally distributing prescription opioids.

The indictments were part of a coordinated effort by several U.S. Attorneys and Appalachian Regional Prescription Opioid Strike Force.

In a press conference Thursday, U.S. Attorney for West Tennessee Michael Dunavant outlined the task force’s operation.

Of the 15 charged in West Tennessee, 11 were medical professionals in the Jackson area, including Jeffrey Young, a nurse practitioner in Jackson and Memphis. Young is accused of prescribing opioids and other addictive medications and sometimes receiving sexual favors as payment.

Charged with conspiracy to distribute and dispense controlled substances are: Dr. Alexander Alperovich and Dr. Andrew Rudin, of Memphis and Jackson, Dr. Charles Alston and nurse practitioner Britney Petway, both of the Superior Health and Wellness Clinic in Jackson, Dr. Jay Shires, Dr. Loran Karlosky, and nurse practitioner Mary Ann Bond, all of the Downtown Medical Clinic in Bells, and Pharmacist Glenn Bonifield Jr. and pharmacy technician Michelle Bonifield, of Mehr Drug Store in Bells.

Dr. Thomas Ballard III, of Jackson, is charged with multiple counts of unlawful drug distribution and distributing a controlled substance resulting in death or serious bodily injury after a pregnant woman died.

Attorney Dunavant says West Tennessee has been hard hit by the opioid epidemic.

The indictments are part of a long-term strategy sponsored by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Tennessee to fight the opioid epidemic.

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