West Tennessee medical professionals appear in court after opioid investigation
DOWNTOWN JACKSON, Tenn. — “Yesterday the Western District of Tennessee participated in the largest coordinated law enforcement take down operation against medical professionals ever,” said Mike Dunavant. Dunavant is the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee.
In West Tennessee, 16 medical professionals are charged with federal indictments, including nine doctors. Eleven of those indictments are in Jackson and Bells.
They are accused of illegally distributing opioids, while some are accused of offering narcotics for sexual favors.
Five medical professionals bonded out Thursday.
Dr. Alexander Alperovich was released from custody on $10,000 bond.
Nurse practitioners Jeff Young, known as the “Rock Doc,” and Mary Ann Bond were also released from custody on $5,000 bond.
Dr. Loran Karlosky also appeared this afternoon and was released from custody on $100,000 bond.
Dr. Jay Shires was released from custody on $10,000 bond.
Three others are scheduled for bond hearings in U.S. District Court in Jackson at a later time.
“These defendants have contributed to and caused much harm, much addiction, pain, injury and perhaps even death across West Tennessee,” Dunavant said.
Court documents say Dr. Thomas Ballard, while operating the Ballard Clinic-Family Practice in downtown Jackson, allegedly sought sexual favors while also prescribing controlled substances to some patients.
Ballard is accused of prescribing opioids to at least one patient, leading to her death. Court documents say Ballard also prescribed opioids to the patient while she was pregnant.
The indictment alleges that in one incident nurse practitioner Jeff Young, known as the “Rock Doc,” prescribed 1.4 million pills. This included opioids for a pregnant patient, whose child was born addicted to opioids with Fetal Abstinence Syndrome.
“The judge made the appropriate findings on each one of them and through his individual rulings, protected the community,” said Young’s attorney Claiborne Ferguson.
Judge Jon York says most of those involved are now barred from being supervising physicians for any practitioners.
“We will not stand by and allow the harmful, and oftentimes deadly, practice of over prescribing highly addictive drugs to continue unchecked,” Dunavant said.