WEST BLOOMFIELD, Mich. – A West Bloomfield doctor facing nearly two dozen prescription drug charges is accused of illegally prescribing a person 478 pills the day before that patient died of an overdose.
Dr. Scott Henry Cooper, 58, of West Bloomfield, was a primary care physician at Comprehensive Medical Associates at 2300 Haggery Road in West Bloomfield, officials said.
Cooper was licensed to prescribe controlled substances to patients at the medical clinic, but from 2013 through 2018, he’s accused of being involved in an illegal prescription drug scheme.
“The purpose of filling the controlled substance prescriptions was not for the legitimate treatment of patients, but rather to satisfy the patient’s desire for controlled substances that could satisfy the patient’s addition, and/or could be abuse, and/or sold at a substantial profit on the illegal street market,” the indictment document says.
Cooper primarily distributed hydrocodone, bitartrate/acetaminophone (Norco), oxycodone (Roxicodone), methadone, dextroamphetamine/amphetamine (Adderall), alprazolam (Xanax), carisoprodol (Soma) and zolpidem (Ambien), according to authorities.
Prescription drug scheme
Cooper would see patients at Comprehensive Medical Associates and write multiple prescriptions for drugs that weren’t medically necessary for patients, court records show.
Sometimes Cooper would prescribe drugs after a cursory examination or without seeing patients at all, officials said.
The indictment says Cooper “ignored warning signs that his patients were addicted or selling the drugs and frequently failed to take commonly accepted steps such as requiring drug screens or checking MAPS before prescribing.”
Authorities said the patients would receive a prescription, fill it and use the drugs to satisfy their addictions or make money on the streets.
In exchange for the drugs, Cooper would retain the patients in his practice or bill their insurance companies for doctor visits.
From March 31, 2014, to Dec. 31, 2018, Cooper wrote more than 20,000 prescriptions for controlled substances, resulting in about 288,065 -- 235,272 of which were immediate release Schedule II oxycodone 30 mg tablets, according to court records.
Officials said those oxycodone tablets were the most popular and valuable on the streets. The number of pills Cooper described had a total street value of more than $4 million, authorities said.
He also prescribed 36,306 doses of methadone, 322,993 doses of hydrocodone (more than $1.5 million worth), more than 200,000 doses of dextroamphetamine/amphetamine and 35,839 doses of alprazolam, the indictment says.
On June 17, 2015, Cooper is accused of illegally prescribing one patient 478 doses of methadone (10 mg).
That patient fatally overdosed on 10 mg methadone pills the next day, according to authorities.
Officials said the patient’s death resulted directly from the pills that were prescribed by Cooper.
“Prescription drug misuse and abuse leads to addiction, suffering, and, in too many unfortunate occasions, death,” said Keith Martin, the Drug Enforcement Agency’s special agent in charge. “While the vast majority of doctors provide legitimate health care, some choose to violate their oath and the law. The DEA and our law enforcement partners will continue to identify and investigate medical professionals who engage in the criminal distribution of prescription drugs.”
Other illegal prescriptions
Officials identified 21 other specific instances when Cooper illegally prescribed controlled substances to patients.
In one case, Cooper would authorize monthly controlled substances for a patient while that person was incarcerated for nearly two years, officials said. They aren’t sure who physically received and filled the patient’s prescriptions.
Here are the details:
June 11, 2015: 126 doses of methadone (10 mg)
June 11, 2015: 14 doses of Xanax (1 mg)
June 15, 2015: 90 doses of oxycodone (30 mg)
June 19, 2015: 90 doses of oxycodone (30 mg)
July 6, 2015: 60 doses of Soma (350 mg)
Feb. 11, 2016: 260 doses of methadone (10 mg)
Feb. 11, 2016: 120 doses of hydrocodone-acetaminophen (10 mg)
Feb. 11, 2016: 90 doses of Xanax (2 mg)
July 6, 2017: 120 doses of Xanax (0.5 mg)
July 6, 2017: 120 doses of hydrocodone-acetaminophen (10 mg)
July 6, 2017: 120 doses of Soma (350 mg)
July 24, 2017: 120 doses of oxycodone (30 mg)
Aug. 28, 2017: 120 doses of oxycodone (30 mg)
Oct. 16, 2017: 120 doses of oxycodone (15 mg)
June 28, 2018: 120 doses of dextroamphetamine/amphetamine (30 mg)
June 28, 2018: 90 doses of Xanax (2 mg)
June 28, 2018: 360 doses of oxycodone (15 mg)
June 28, 2018: 60 doses of hydrocodone-acetaminophen (7.5 mg)
Aug. 1, 2018: 120 doses of oxycodone (15 mg)
Aug. 1, 2018: 30 doses of Ambien (10 mg)
Dec. 13, 2018: 60 doses of oxycodone (30 mg)
Cooper is charged with 22 separate counts of illegally prescribing prescription drug controlled substances.
Cooper is required to forfeit any property or money obtained as a result of the scheme or used in the scheme, court records say.
“Doctors who provide prescription drugs to people for no legitimate medical reason are fueling the opioid epidemic in Michigan,” U.S. Attorney Mathew Schneider said. “This case should serve as a message to doctors who choose profit over their pledge to do no harm. We are focusing our law enforcement attention on you and we will do everything we can to bring you to justice.”