A 72-year-old Venice doctor who practices in West Hollywood recently pleaded guilty to prescribing powerful painkillers even though his authority to prescribe those drugs had been revoked. James William Eisenberg allegedly wrote over 1,200 prescription for medications including Vicodin and Norco. Eisenberg is charged with one count of distribution of hydrocodone; he pleaded guilty in federal court.
As experienced Los Angeles drug crime attorneys, we know that prescription drug offenses have been on the rise in past years. Crimes involving such painkillers as oxycodone and hydrocodone have saturated the media; even highly recognized celebrities have been known to have addiction issues, many of them losing their lives. When a doctor is accused of writing improper prescriptions, he or she may face serious criminal penalties if convicted.
In May, an indictment filed against Eisenberg charged him with three counts of distribution of hydrocodone and four counts of using a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration registration number which had been revoked.
Prosecutors in the case allege the defendant accepted cash payments for writing out the painkiller prescriptions while working out of West Hollywood medical offices, including a storefront called Pacific Support Services located on Santa Monica Boulevard. According to Benjamin Barron, Assistant U.S. Attorney, Eisenberg may be sentenced to up to 2 1/2 years in prison at his December 9 sentencing hearing.
DEA records and court documents also indicate Eisenberg issued medical marijuana recommendations. The doctor’s DEA registration number was suspended in December of 2011 when an administrative judge determined the physician was acting as a “drug dealer.”
This case demonstrates the fact that not every drug crime must go to trial, and that in some situations, a plea deal may be the better alternative. However, when an individual is innocent of the charge against him or her, it is important to have an attorney who will work vigorously to protect that innocence.
Eisenberg is facing federal charges, which are generally more serious than those at the state level. Penalties for those convicted of federal crimes are typically harsher than punishment for those found guilty in state court systems.
Any individual who is arrested or charged with drug possession, manufacturing, or distribution should take immediate action; a conviction will not only lead to fines and potential prison time, but will affect a person’s reputation and career as well. Contact a talented Los Angeles drug crimes lawyer at once to ensure the best possible outcome.