SALT LAKE CITY — Federal authorities filed a civil complaint Friday against a Murray doctor they say prescribes painkillers without a legitimate medical purpose that end up being sold on the street.
The complaint in U.S. District court also alleges Nicholas Carl Greenwood prescribes opioids outside the usual course of professional practice. His business, Greenwood Addiction Physicians, offers treatment for opioid, alcohol and tobacco addiction.
The U.S. Attorney's Office wants a judge to stop Greenwood from prescribing drugs.
Greenwood knew, or should have known, that the prescriptions he issued, essentially on a cash-and-carry basis, were not medically necessary and were being sold or traded on the street, according to the complaint.
DEA agents launched an investigation into Greenwood following a tip from the Tooele County Sheriff's Office last April about an inmate organizing and paying people to get prescriptions from the doctor for his use in jail.
Three undercover agents visited Greenwood's office 20 times over an eight-month period and received 19 prescriptions for Buprenorphine, totaling 889 pills, according to the complaint. Buprenorphine can be used to treat pain and help people reduce or quit the use of heroin or other opiates.
Agents paid a $350 cash fee on the first visit and $200 cash for each subsequent visit, court documents say.
Greenwood never performed a medical examination, asked questions about the undercover agent’s health or symptoms or reviewed prior medical records, but prescribed the drug without any evidence of medical need, according to the complaint.
The doctor issued most of the prescriptions without actually meeting with the undercover agents, court documents say.
Investigators say what they have found so far is "likely just the tip of the iceberg."
"Based on Dr. Greenwood’s comfort and fluency with the street price of Buprenorphine and drug deals, and knowledge that his patients are illegally diverting prescriptions, he likely has previously engaged in — and will continue to engage in — similar illegal conduct," according to court documents.
A call to Greenwood's office found it closed Fridays.