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East Idaho nurse practitioner admits to unlawfully prescribing narcotics more than 15 times

Crime Watch

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The following is a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Idaho.

BOISE — Kenneth Lowther, a nurse practitioner in eastern Idaho, consented to judgment against him after admitting that he unlawfully prescribed narcotics on more than 15 occasions.

The judgment, entered by the United States District Court for the District of Idaho, found Lowther civilly liable for violating the Controlled Substances Act and required that he pay a $30,000 fine.

According to the government’s complaint, Lowther wrote prescriptions for hydrocodone in the name of one patient, but thereafter gave the prescriptions to a third-party for filling and use. The government alleged, and the Court and Lowther ultimately agreed, that the unlawful prescriptions lacked a legitimate medical purpose and were written outside the usual course of professional practice in violation of federal and state law.

“While there is a place for opioid pain medication in a legitimate medical practice, that place is not the unlawful diversion of such medication for illegal and unauthorized use,” said U.S. Attorney Rafael M. Gonzalez Jr., who announced the judgment. “This office will continue to hold prescribers accountable under the Controlled Substances Act when they write prescriptions that lack a legitimate medical purpose, and this case once again demonstrates our commitment to attacking the opioid epidemic on all fronts.”

“The allegations in this matter describe an outrageous diversion of opioid pills without medical purpose and with the high potential to cause harm to individuals and communities,” said Steven J. Ryan, Special Agent in Charge with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG). “We will continue to partner with the U.S. Attorney’s Office to root out this kind of abuse at every turn.”

This matter was investigated jointly by the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Inspector General, with additional assistance provided by the Idaho Board of Pharmacy and the Idaho State Attorney General’s Office.