Up to three former doctors at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler might have been involved in illegally diverting prescription painkillers, the Texas Department of Public Safety has said.
Dr. James Stocks, 66, was booked in the Smith County Jail on Aug. 12 on a warrant for diverting a controlled substance. He was released the same day on a $100,000 bond, according to online jail records.
An affidavit from a special agent with the DPS alleges Stocks, a former physician at the Pulmonary Clinic of UT Health Science Center at Tyler, had been prescribing hydrocodone/APAP (generic of Vicodin) to his colleague Dr. David Shafer from February 2001 to January 2019, “without having a valid, properly documented medical reason for the issuance of this prescription.”
The prescription was for anywhere from 60 to 90 tablets every 30 days, according to the affidavit.
Shafer had been writing a prescription for his wife every 10 to 15 days for the past 12 years for 120 tablets of hydrocodone/APAP, the affidavit said. He hand-delivered the prescriptions to the pharmacy, picked them up personally and paid cash without billing insurance, the affidavit said.
During the course of the investigation, Shafer admitted himself into a treatment program, the affidavit said. Shafer also had called his boss in July to say he had a narcotic addiction and had been writing prescriptions for hydrocodone to his wife but consuming the pills himself, the affidavit said.
Shafer has not been charged, according to online Smith County judicial records.
DPS spokeswoman Sgt. Jean Dark said an investigation is ongoing.
Jacob Martin, spokesman for the UT Health Science Center at Tyler, said last week that he could not comment on reasons for separation but could confirm that three people — Stocks, Shafer and a third doctor — resigned their positions.
On Thursday, the hospital system published three identical advertisements in the Tyler Morning Telegraph saying those three doctors were no longer seeing patients, as of Aug. 8, and directing their former patients to contact the hospital for release of their medical records.
“This is an ongoing investigation, and we are working closely with appropriate regulatory, licensing and law enforcement authorities on this matter,” Rachel Roberts, director of public affairs for the UT Health Science Center at Tyler, said in a written statement related to Stocks’ arrest.
“A review of our records indicates this did not involve patient care,” Roberts said of the situation with Stocks. “Our priority right now is working with our staff and team of providers to ensure continuity of care for our patients.”
Stocks declined to comment, citing advice from his lawyer.
Shafer’s phone number does not go to voicemail. He was not available at his home in Whitehouse on Friday.
The third doctor’s number was unlisted in a public database, and no one answered the door to his home in Tyler on Friday.
Stocks is accused of diversion of controlled substance by registrant, dispensers and certain other persons, a third-degree felony that carries a punishment of two to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.