An arrest warrant has been issued for a Sequoyah County physician following a year-long investigation by the Sallisaw Police Department and the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics (OBN).
Mark Woodward, spokesman for OBN, said Dr. William Kerry Smith is facing 40 counts of distributing controlled prescription drugs outside the course of legitimate business.
“The investigation found evidence Dr. Smith was prescribing controlled substances to individuals who had not demonstrated a legitimate medical need for the drugs," Woodward said.
Woodward said Smith is living in Atlanta, Ga., and deputies have been sent to serve the arrest warrant. He did not know if the warrant had been served or if Smith had surrendered to authorities as of Thursday morning.
Woodward says the investigation began in December 2014 and involved illegal prescribing in both Oklahoma and Arkansas.
“We got a tip he was prescribing narcotics to patients,” Woodward said. “Some of them were not patients. They were just acquaintances he met on the internet with whom he would develop a relationship and would prescribe powerful narcotics.”
The 40 counts against Dr. Smith involve unlawful prescriptions written for painkillers including Hydrocodone and Oxycodone, as well as the anti-anxiety drug Xanax, according to the press release.
Woodward said Smith, when arrested, will be extradited to Sequoyah County where he will face the charges in Sequoyah County District Court in Sallisaw.
Woodward says prescription drug abuse and fraud is epidemic in Oklahoma and across the nation.
Sallisaw Police Chief Terry Franklin said the police department is actively investigating other drug prescription cases and agreed the problem has become epidemic. “We are actively working these illegal prescription cases,” he said.
He stated there were 823 drug-related deaths in Oklahoma in 2015 and nearly 70 percent involved at least one prescription drug.
Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director
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