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Northern Nevada doctor gets one year in prison for illegally writing opioid prescriptions

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Dr. Shouping Li, the former Vice Chief of Staff for Humboldt County General Hospital in Winnemucca, Nev., pleaded guilty in February 2019 (USCBP)

A northern Nevada doctor specializing in family medicine was sentenced today to one year and one day in federal prison and ordered to pay a $125,000 fine for overprescribing highly addictive pain pills Oxycodone and Hydrocodone not for a legitimate medical purpose, the Department of Justice announced on Monday.

Dr. Shouping Li, the former Vice Chief of Staff for Humboldt County General Hospital in Winnemucca, Nev., pleaded guilty in February 2019 to distribution of a controlled substance, specifically Oxycodone and Hydrocodone. In addition to the imprisonment, Dr. Li was also sentenced to three years of supervised release.

“Today’s sentencing is a reminder of our unwavering commitment to hold dirty doctors accountable for feeding into the addiction of their patients,” said U.S. Attorney Trutanich. “We will continue to aggressively pursue medical professionals who disregard their oath to do no harm.”

“The accessibility of deadly drugs are a threat to our communities,” said Special Agent in Charge Rouse. “Each and every day, the FBI and our partners in Nevada are working hard targeting distributors, who illegally contribute to the opioid crisis that continues to devastate communities all over the state of Nevada.”

The investigation into Dr. Li began in March 2018 after the FBI received reports of several deaths related to opioid pain medication overdoses and allegations that Dr. Li may have illicitly been prescribing narcotics .

Dr. Li admitted that he prescribed Oxycodone and Hydrocodone at a high dosage rate to his patients without a legitimate medical purpose between August 2015 and February 2018. He further admitted that several of his patients passed away while he actively attended to them.

The case was investigated by the FBI, Tri-County Drug Enforcement Team, Nevada Department of Public Safety, Humboldt County Sheriff's Office, Winnemucca Police Department, Elko Combined Narcotics Unit, Elko Police Department, Elko County Sheriff's Office, and the Office of Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Assistant U.S. Attorney Sue Fahami and Assistant Chief Kilby MacFadden from the Department of Justice Fraud Section prosecuted the case.

If you have a tip or information about illegal sales or distribution of prescription opioids, including Fentanyl, Oxycodone, and Hydrocodone by doctors and pharmacies, contact the FBI at tips.fbi.gov.

The Opioid Fraud and Abuse Detection Unit is a program that utilizes data to identify and prosecute individuals that are contributing to the prescription opioid epidemic. Since 2017, when the Department of Justice funded a dedicated opioid prosecutor in the District of Nevada, the United States Attorney’s Office has prosecuted about 12 opioid-related cases and charged about 24 defendants.

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