Tennessee nurse sentenced for illegal drug prescriptions

Tennessee
Kathryn Russell

Kathryn Russell (Courtesy: WREG)

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — A former Tennessee nurse was sentenced to more than two years in federal prison for writing thousands of prescriptions for opioids, tranquilizers and muscle relaxers for people who didn’t need the pills for medical reasons.

Kathryn Russell was sentenced Thursday to 29 months in prison, the U.S. attorney’s office in Memphis said in a statement Friday.

Russell pleaded guilty in April 2019 to conspiracy to unlawfully distribute controlled substances. She was charged with more than a dozen other west Tennessee doctors and nurses with illegally prescribing millions of prescription pills collectively.

During an eight week period, Russell prescribed more than 7,800 pills of oxycodone, a semi-synthetic opioid and painkiller. She also wrote prescriptions for more than 6,000 pills of benzodiazepine, a tranquilizer, and more than 1,000 pills of carisoprodol, a muscle relaxer.

Prosecutors said Russell wrote prescriptions for friends and others with whom she had no medical relationship, without conducting medical examinations.

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