Harrison Yang, a cardiologist in Manchester, was sentenced to three years of probation and was ordered to pay $9,500 in fines for taking a part in supplying the community with opioids.
Avoiding prison time, Yang will no longer be able to prescribe opioids after officials found he was responsible for furthering the Tennessee opioid crisis, chattanoogan.com reports.
Yang appeared in Chattanooga Federal Court on Friday.
Attorney General William P. Barr and Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex M. Azar III, together with multiple law enforcement partners, charged 60 defendants earlier this year. Eight of them were in the Eastern District of Tennessee, which includes Coffee County.
The charges announced involve individuals contributing to the opioid epidemic, with a particular focus on medical professionals involved in the unlawful distribution of opioids and other prescription narcotics.
On April 16, 2019, a federal grand jury indicted Yang, 75, with fraud violations in relation to healthcare. This case was investigated by the FBI, HHS-OIG, DEA, and TBI.
"Unfortunately, the Appalachian Region, which includes the Eastern District of Tennessee, is experiencing a surge in drug abuse and overdose related deaths,” said U.S. Attorney J. Douglas Overbey in April.
A report by the Tennessee Department of Health shows there were 19 drug overdose deaths in Coffee County in 2018. Of the total 19 deaths, 13 were opioid overdoses. In 2014, there were nine overdoses; in 2015, there were 14 overdoses; in 2016, there were 17 overdoses: and 2017 saw 16 total overdose deaths. That number jumps up to 19 in 2018.
Statewide, the overdoses have seen an upsurge, as well. In 2018, 1,818 people died of drug overdose.