Patients defend doctor accused of selling scripts

Target 8 investigator Ken Kolker confronts Paul DeWeese

LANSING, Mich. (WOOD) — A day after a Target 8 investigation into allegations that a doctor was illegally selling prescriptions to junkies, some of his patients came to his defense.

Those patients of Dr. Paul DeWeese said they also are afraid now that their source of pain pills has dried up.

“I’m just frustrated, scared to death, scared to death of going through withdrawals,” Jan Tadgerson said. “I love the guy.”

In a news release issued Tuesday morning, DeWeese called the accusations against him “categorically false or a gross misrepresentation of the facts.”

Tadgerson, 45, of Grand Ledge, is among 300 or so patients of DeWeese who are now without a doctor. Several spoke on his behalf in interviews set up by the doctor’s spokesman.

“He is not the bad guy,” Tadgerson said.

The state last month suspended DeWeese’s medical license after a FBI search of his Lansing Chronic Pain Clinic and Opioid Recovery Center in Lansing. He treated mostly drug addicts and patients suffering from pain.

An FBI affidavit alleged the former state representative, who once ran clinics from Grand Rapids to Flint, was diverting prescription drugs — writing scripts to known junkies, who then abused or sold the drugs. In Escanaba, police said DeWeese was “polluting our streets with junkies.”

DeWeese, 60, of Holt, has not been charged with a crime.

“What is this, calling him a drug dealer?” Tadgerson said. “That is not what he is. He’s a doctor that’s compassionate, probably the only one that I’ve ever met.”

Tadgerson said she suffers from chronic lower back pain.

“I couldn’t roll over in bed,” she said. “I couldn’t get in the shower very well, couldn’t walk very well, doubled over in pain.”

After seeing seven or eight doctors, she started going to DeWeese in November. She now takes Percocet and 20 mg of methadone four times a day.

“It wasn’t just, ‘What do you need? Let me prescribe it,'” she said. “Finally, a doctor that believed me, had compassion and helped me.”

But the prescriptions, she said, will run out in a week, and she can’t find a doctor who can help her.

“Nobody will take me, nobody will see me. I can’t get into a regular doctor,” she said.

Antonio Manning, DeWeese’s spokesman, said some of the patients are getting desperate. Other offices are refusing to see them “strictly because they were Dr. DeWeese’s patients,” he said.

“We have patients who are going into withdrawals, we have patients who are going back to heroin, we have patients who are calling in threatening,” he said.

He said one former patient who can’t get her meds was hospitalized on Tuesday after suffering seizures.

Manning said he has known DeWeese since he was a kid without a place to stay. He said DeWeese took him in and paid for his college.

He questioned statements made by FBI witnesses: the patients in Escanaba and workers at a medical marijuana clinic in Muskegon and at a methadone clinic in Lansing. DeWeese worked for both clinics.

Most of the Escanaba patients who talked to the FBI had been discharged by the doctor, Manning said,  some after the office suspected they were abusing drugs. He believes they are trying to get back at the doctor.

In the written statement, DeWeese said that patients who participated in his pain program were required to sign pain management contracts, given pill counts, urine and/or oral drug screens.

It also stated that the Lansing clinic was the only pain management program in the state where the physician had a camera in his office to monitor his interactions with patients as he managed their care.

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