A recent business sojourn to Key West, FL, gave your intrepid blogger (who still has yet to set up his own CafePress swag shop) an opportunity to revisit a story we first discussed in February of an acupuncturist being arrested on three felony charges for obtaining controlled substances by forgery. Commenter ebohlman noted at the time the address of the acupuncturist’s practice:
Duck Avenue? Is that where all the quacks have their practices?
While I expressed some sympathy for the practitioner if she were addicted to narcotics, I also feared that she might have used some of the drugs to dope herbal products she stocked to give her patients the impression that the herbs “worked.” While I have yet to conclusively establish a causal association, the follow-up evidence I’ve learned is certainly consistent with that hypothesis:
The charges against a Key West acupuncturist arrested last week include forging prescriptions to obtain drugs not only for herself, but for her patients, according to arrest records.
A doctor who performs cosmetic procedures at Hoyt’s Clinic of Alternative Medicine, 3420 Duck Ave., contacted Key West police on Feb. 6, accusing Hoyt of using information on the doctor’s Florida medical license and federal Drug Enforcement Agency license to open accounts with two mail-order pharmacies in Hallandale Beach and Melville, N.Y., reports say.
Hoyt allegedly obtained Cyclobenzaprine, a muscle relaxer; Rozerem, Lorazepam and Phenobarbital, all sedatives; Nandrolone, an anabolic steroid; Sermorelin, growth hormones; Alpha Lipoic Acid, an antioxidant; Furosemide, a diuretic; and vitamins.
So instead of prescribing warming herbs to better balance one’s Chi, it is entirely possible that a little bit of prescription sedative might have been used as a synergistic booster.
Even an acupuncture association has tried to distance themselves from this case:
Except for the vitamins and antioxidants, the drugs are not associated with typical acupuncture procedure, said Bill Reddy, vice president of the American Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine.
“We’re not prescribing pharmaceuticals,” Reddy said. “It’s also important to note, I can’t even suggest someone stop taking their current medication to take herbal medication. If there’s a patient that says he or she was prescribed a man-made pharmaceutical by an acupuncturist, that acupuncturist has gone beyond our scope of practice.”
As you might suspect, no one was available to comment when I showed up at the acupuncture practice to sniff around a bit.
But beyond the fact that the individual called themselves a “physician,” I did find it striking that the proprietor also has a bit of a spelling problem:
And when one goes to the clinic website, one finds yet another spelling error, perhaps prescient: the individual is a graduate of the University of Missouri-Colombia*.
*with apologies to my colleagues from the beautiful country of Colombia who must endure endless, mean-spirited ribbing about illicit drugs.