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Ex-CEO of LR clinic pleads guilty to drug charge

By Gavin Lesnick

This article was published December 18, 2012 at 12:25 p.m.

— The former chief executive officer of Little Rock Diagnostic Clinic has pleaded guilty to accusations he used his position to obtain thousands of pills of a controlled pain medicine, federal authorities said Tuesday.

James Derek Johnston, 42, of Hot Springs admitted asking a nurse he supervised at the clinic to call or fax in prescriptions for hydrocodone without a doctor's knowledge, the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas said.

Johnston reportedly received a legitimate prescription for the pain medicine after an injury in 2007 but started having the nurse call in the fraudulent prescriptions beginning in the fall of 2008.

Federal authorities say Johnston obtained about 25,000 hydrocodone pills through more than 150 prescriptions between October 2008 and July 2012. He pleaded to a single count of obtaining hydrocodone by fraud.

He was released pending sentencing after a hearing Tuesday before U.S. District Judge Susan Webber Wright in Little Rock, though he must submit to drug testing, treatment and counseling.

Johnston faces up to four years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

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DEMOCRATREPUBLICAN says... December 18, 2012 at 3:45 p.m.

150 fraudulant prescriptions called in, 25,000 pills, YET only ONE charge of fraudulantly obtaining pills. Rich people do not go to jail. If I had 1-2 pills when I got pulled over by the police, I would serve 3 years in jail.

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