Doctor set for January trial in pill mill case

Dr. Parker being escorted from the Texarkana Federal Courthouse Wednesday morning after appearing in court. (photo by Field Walsh | TXK TODAY)

A local doctor accused of operating a pill mill in the Texarkana area is scheduled for trial in January.

Lonnie Joseph Parker, 55, is scheduled to face a jury Jan. 19 in the Texarkana Division of the Western District of Arkansas before U.S. District Judge Susan Hickey. Parker is set to appear for arraignment Thursday on a superseding indictment which accuses Parker of prescribing common drugs of abuse without a valid medical reason in nine counts.

The superseding indictment is similar to the original indictment issued in October 2019 though some of the wording is different.

Parker’s clinic, Primary Care Specialists in Texarkana, Ark., was searched in October at the time of Parker’s arrest.

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Little Rock District Office (LRDO), Tactical Diversion and Diversion Groups initiated an investigation into Parker in 2018 after receiving complaints from local law enforcement about a suspected pill mill and possible overdose death of a patient, according to an earlier press release.

Investigators analyzed prescription drug monitoring data attributed to Parker, and the investigation revealed Parker was an over-prescriber of controlled substances, to include opiates, benzodiazepines, and promethazine with codeine cough syrup in the Texarkana area. In the two-year period analyzed, Dr. Parker prescribed approximately 1.2 million dosage units of opiates, including oxycodone and hydrocodone, to approximately 1,508 patients (approximately 847 dosage units per patient). Parker also prescribed approximately 16 gallons of Promethazine with Codeine cough syrup to approximately 29 patients during the same time period. These prescriptions included several prescriptions written in combination with narcotics and sedatives to high diversion risk patients.

Parker was released from custody on a $5,000 appearance bond following a detention hearing in October. He was required to surrender his passport and is not permitted to practice medicine while his case is pending.

Parker is represented by Little Rock attorney John Wesley Hall and Little Rock attorney Jeffrey Rosenzweig recently entered an appearance in the case.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Anne Gardner and Graham Jones.

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