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Two Memphis health professionals accused of providing opioids to patients they claimed to help

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Federal authorities indicted two Memphis health professionals this week as part of a massive sweep affecting 16 people total. Kathryn Russell and James Litton both spoke with WREG for news stories in 2017 and 2018.

In 2017, Kathryn Russell showed WREG her technique for helping people relieve their opioid addction: an injectable drug called Vivitrol. But federal authorities now say they started investigating Russell just a few months later.

Starting in March 2018, authorities say Russell illegally wrote prescriptions for drugs, including Oxycodone, without proper monitoring of any of her patients. They also say she prescribed medication to friends, despite knowing much of it ended up on the streets.

According to a federal indictment, Russell personally profited off her prescriptions she gave out.

In July 2018, Memphis police arrested Russell for writing hundreds of fake prescriptions.

During that time WREG spoke with her boss, Nurse Practitioner James Litton, who owned Consolidated Health Services of Memphis on Hacks Cross Road. He questioned whether his employee had been framed by someone who stole her prescription pad.

But now, both Litton and Russell are in trouble with the federal government: they were indicted this week for conspiracy and each faces up to 20 years in prison.

Records from the Tenn. Department of Health showed Litton’s illegal behavior went back to 2014 and once he opened Consolidated Health Services, he never had proper certification to run a pain management clinic.

Records from the Tennessee Board of Nursing show Russell voluntary gave up her license in April 2019 while neither admitting or denying she did anything wrong.

Litton’s license is currently suspended.

Neither Litton nor Russell's attorneys had any comment on their clients cases Thursday.

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