MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A nurse practitioner is facing serious charges after allegedly writing hundreds of fraudulent prescriptions, some of them for opioids. That's important to note, because she was hired to help people get off opioids.
Kathryn Russell is accused of writing more than 300 fraudulent prescriptions, around 40 of which were on pads from her former employer, Consolidated Health Services of Memphis.
Russell's job was to help people get off opioids, something WREG featured in October, while explaining Vivitrol, one of the drugs she gave patients.
James Litton owns the clinic and says he fired Russell in February for insubordination. Soon after, he started getting calls from pharmacies trying to verify prescriptions written on the clinic's pads, for patients the clinic didn't have.
"It makes pharmacies very leery to fill any prescription that comes from our office," Litton says.
Police say Russell wrote those prescriptions, but Litton isn't sure. All he knows is someone did it and he had to report it.
"It gives you the stigma of over-prescribing when, in truth, it's fraudulent scripts that are causing the problem," Litton says.
Litton says anyone can buy prescription paper like the ones his clinic uses. At that point, all you need is a computer to print whatever letter head you need and certain key information like a physician number.
When confronted by police, Russell admitted the subjects were patients but she didn't remember writing the prescriptions, according to an affidavit.
It's also important to note that, in recent months, Russell filed at least one police report saying someone wrote prescriptions in her name by stealing one of her old pads.
"It's very possible. Absolutely," Litton says, "I do believe she's a good person."
Russell is charged with impersonating a licensed professional and drug possession without a prescription. She's due in court on June 4th.