FORT SMITH, Ark. (KFSM) — Dak Kees, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas, announced Tuesday (Oct. 8) several federal drug charges had been filed against a southwest Arkansas doctor with a troubled background accused of overprescribing drugs.
Dr. Lonnie Joseph Parker served prison time after being convicted of possession of child pornography in 2000. During his trial, Parker defended he was trying to help law enforcement officers catch predators sharing sexual images of children online.
Parker was working at UAMS at the time. His medical license was suspended following his arrest. The state Medical Board allowed him to resume practice following his sentence in 2006.
A law was later passed by the Arkansas legislature preventing anyone with a sexual offense from participating in Medicaid. Parker challenged the law in 2013. He was working in Hope, Arkansas at the time.
In 2018 an investigation was launched into Parker by the Little Rock DEA office after receiving complaints from local law enforcement about a suspected pill mill and possible overdose death of a patient.
The DEA's investigation into Parker revealed he was an over-prescriber of controlled substances, including opiates, benzodiazepines, and promethazine with codeine cough syrup in the Texarkana area.
In the two-year period analyzed, Dr. Parker prescribed approximately 1.2 million dosage units of opiates, including oxycodone and hydrocodone, to approximately 1,508 patients (approximately 847 dosage units per patient). Dr. Parker also prescribed approximately 16 gallons of Promethazine with Codeine cough syrup to approximately 29 patients during the same time period. These prescriptions included several prescriptions written in combination with narcotics and sedatives to high diversion risk patients.
Our Little Rock content partner KTHV reports that Parker's medical license was suspended June over the alarming number of prescriptions he was writing. KTHV says that he prescribed three patients over an eight-month period with five gallons of prescription cough syrup. Earlier this month Parker was reinstated by the state medical board.
Parker was arrested in Texarkana, Arkansas, on Tuesday. He is facing nine federal drug charges for prescribing without a legitimate medical purpose.
Senator John Boozman released the following statement regarding the indictment:
“Prescription drug abuse is a serious problem in Arkansas, especially the opioid crisis which has been widespread and destructive. While Congress has responded with a variety of solutions ranging from prevention to treatment, I have long believed that enforcement and accountability among prescribers is also necessary to stem the tide.
The work of Dak Kees and federal partners at the DEA, FBI, HHS and local agencies to identify and now act to hold over-prescribers responsible sends a clear message as to their intention to crack down on this behavior in order to end the plague of opioid addiction in Arkansas. I congratulate Dak and each of the government agencies involved in this arrest and commend their work to ensure these drugs do not continue to flood our communities and state without consequence.”