Categories
General News News for Colorado

Denver Psychiatrist Charged with Wrongly Prescribing Drugs

Denver area psychiatrist Howard Weiss has been indicted on 120 federal charges that include allegations he prescribed higher doses of psychiatric drugs without trying lower doses or alternative treatments first.  At least one of his patients died of an overdose, according to the indictment, although he is not charged in that death.

He is also charged with prescribing addictive drugs to already-addicted patients and prescribing high doses of benzodiazepines to patients taking opioids, a combination of drugs that could prove fatal.

According to the Denver Post, the indictment alleges that Weiss prescribed pills — including amphetamines such as Adderall and benzodiazepines such as Xanax and Valium — to patients at dosages that were too high and without exploring other avenues of treatment.

The indictment alleges that, in one three-month period, one patient was prescribed 9,000 Adderall pills, 480 pills of the muscle relaxant Soma and 480 Xanax tablets.

Weiss has a criminal history.   According to the disciplinary document  on the Dept of Regulatory Affairs (DORA) website, in 1995 Weiss was suspended from practice in the State of Virginia after conviction on federal charges involving filing false and fraudulent billing claims of in-patient psychiatric services. He served his sentence of probation and paid a fine and restitution, and his license was later reinstated in Virginia.

Weiss was granted a license to practice in Colorado in 2003. In 2019 he once again faced disciplinary action after the Colorado Medical Board reviewed information that Weiss “simultaneously prescribed multiple controlled substances in high doses to multiple patients” and “permitted patients to make determinations regarding their prescription medications despite clear evidence of abuse or misuse.”  He was found by the Board to “pose an immediate risk to the public health, safety or welfare” of the citizens of Colorado.  In an emergency action, his license was once again suspended.

If you are concerned about the psychiatric drugs prescribed to you or a loved one, discuss it with your doctor. You can also research psychiatric drug side effects here.

WARNING: Anyone wishing to discontinue or change the dose of a psychiatric drug is cautioned to do so only under the supervision of a competent medical doctor because of potentially dangerous, even life-threatening mental and physical withdrawal symptoms.

If you or anyone you know has experienced harmful side effects from psychiatric drugs, we want to talk to you.  You can contact us by clicking here or by calling 303-789-5225.  All information will be kept in the strictest confidence.

Categories
News for Colorado

CSU Student With Bizarre Behavior Had An Unprescribed Psychostimulant – A Growing Trend On College Campuses

A Fort Collins teen accused of stealing an ambulance on November 2, fleeing in it to Loveland and then crashing the vehicle was reportedly in possession of Adderall, a psych drug with the known side effects of delusions, mania and aggression.

According to the Fort Collins Coloradoan, Stefan Sortland, 18, would not follow police commands as he was being apprehended, causing police to subdue him with a stun gun.  He reportedly told police officers that he was “following the bright lights” and rambled on about things not related to his situation.

By Patrick Mallahan III (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
By Patrick Mallahan III (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
A search of “Adderall” on CCHR International’s psych drug side effects search engine reveals 10 warnings by international drug regulatory authorities and 4 studies linking the drug to dangerous side effects that include hallucinations, psychosis, sensory disturbances, anger, aggression, heart problems, stroke, and sudden death.

Even more disturbing, a major study has revealed that psychostimulant drugs like Adderall and Ritalin have never been proven safe or effective.  Researchers from Boston Children’s Hospital, the Department of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and several other institutions concluded that the clinical trials for drugs approved as “treatment” for ADHD were not designed to assess adverse events or long-term safety and effectiveness.

Adderall is an amphetamine/dextroamphetamine drug.  It is a schedule II controlled substance in the same class as cocaine, morphine and opium because of its high risk of addiction.  The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires the drug to carry a black-box warning that the drug has a high potential for abuse.

Individual responses to amphetamines vary widely, and harmful effects can be experienced even at low doses.  According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, taking stimulants like Adderall at usual doses can cause psychotic or manic symptoms, such as hallucinations, delusional thinking, or mania, in children and adolescents who have no prior history of psychosis or mania.

Image by George Hodan
Image by George Hodan

Psychostimulants like Adderall and Ritalin have become popular among college students, many of whom do not have a prescription for it.  They believe the drugs will help them study, even though there have been no studies that show any correlation between using unprescribed stimulants and an increase in academic performance.

A National College Health Assessment last spring, which surveyed more than 66,000 students from 140 institutions around the country, found that about 9% admitted to taking stimulants not prescribed to them within the past 12 months.

Sortland, a student at Colorado State University, reportedly did not have a prescription for the Adderall and has been charged with unlawful possession of a controlled substance.

Meanwhile, medical emergencies related to this drug use is soaring.  The number of young adults ages 18 to 34 who end up in the emergency room after taking Adderall, Ritalin or other such stimulants has quadrupled in recent years, increasing from 5,600 in 2005 to 23,000 in 2011, according to national data from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, a branch of the Department of Health and Human Services.  Peter J. Delany, the director of the office that oversees statistics for the administration, said the rise was particularly pronounced among 18- to 25-year-olds.

WARNING: Anyone wishing to discontinue psychiatric drugs is cautioned to do so only under the supervision of a competent medical doctor because of potentially dangerous withdrawal symptoms.

If you or someone you know has been damaged by a psychostimulant or other psych drug, we want to talk to you.  You can contact us privately by clicking here or by calling 303-789-5225.  All information will be kept in the strictest confidence. We welcome your comments on this article below.