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June 20, 2021

Alabama doctor, husband who admitted to opioid distribution headed to prison

An Alabama doctor and her husband, who managed her practice, will serve federal prison sentences for providing opioids to people without a legitimate medical purpose, the U.S. Department of Justice announced Wednesday.

Dr. Elizabeth Korcz was sentenced to more than four years and her husband Matthew Korcz was sentenced to two and a half years, al.com reports.

They pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute and dispense a controlled substance in December after being arrested in 2019, as part of a federal crackdown on medical professionals accused of illegally prescribing opioids.

Authorities said Matthew Korcz managed his wife’s former clinic in the Birmingham suburb of Hoover. Their office was first raided in 2017, according to al.com.

Court documents say the couple admitted to providing dangerous doses of hydrocodone to patients who weren’t examined by a medical professional and when Dr. Korcz wasn’t present. They didn’t employ registered nurses or other medical professionals who could examine patients in the doctor’s absence.

The couple also admitted to allowing the distribution of hydrocodone from their in-house dispensary when the doctor was out of the state multiple times, according to the documents.

“Doctors who abuse their position of trust to unlawfully prescribe opioids for profit are fueling our country’s epidemic,” Acting Assistant Attorney General Nicholas L. McQuaid of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division said in a statement. “The devastation to our communities caused by that betrayal of trust requires just punishment, as the court imposed.”

The FBI and the Drug Enforcement Administration investigated the case.

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