Former doctor gets 3 years for illegal opioid distribution

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – The Justice Department says a former Tennessee doctor who pleaded guilty to unlawfully distributing opioids has been sentenced to three years in prison.

The federal agency said in a statement that 66-year-old Darrel R. Rinehart of Indianapolis admitted to distributing controlled substances to four patients without a legitimate medical purpose 18 times between December 2014 and December 2015.

He also admitted to one count of distributing hydrocodone in January 2016.

The Tennessean reports Rinehart ran a clinic in Columbia for years and that public records show at least five of his patients suffered fatal overdoses that were at least partially blamed on drugs he prescribed.

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