Doctor gave patients unneeded opioids and engaged in sex acts during visits, feds say

An Ohio physician engaged in sex acts with patients he knowingly prescribed unneeded opioids to in a multi-year health care scheme, according to federal authorities.

Now, Jeffrey Sutton, 65, has been sentenced to six years in federal prison, according to a May 23 news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Ohio.

Sutton pleaded guilty in January to illegally prescribing patients opioids and other controlled substances, illegally distributing controlled substances and healthcare fraud, authorities said. His defense attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment from McClatchy News on May 24.

Prosecutors said the doctor from Niles, Ohio, gave the drugs “to patients outside of the usual course of professional practice and without legitimate medical purpose” from January 2015 through January 2022. Then he billed health insurance programs for the illegally dispensed controlled substances, officials said.

“Sutton also admitted to engaging in sexual acts with patients to whom he directly prescribed controlled substances, including during office visits,” according to the release. “He also admitted to delivering dozens of oxycodone pills to the home of one of his patients with whom he was engaged in a relationship, outside the course of treatment and without a valid prescription.”

In addition to six years in prison, Sutton is required to pay $148,870 in restitution, a $20,000 fine and a $5,200 special assessment, authorities said. He has also been ordered to three years of supervised release following his time in prison.

Niles is about 60 miles southeast of Cleveland.

If you or a loved one shows signs of substance use disorder, you can seek help by calling the national hotline at 1-800-662-4357 or find treatment using SAMHSA’s online locator.

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