Doctor guilty in opioids case

By: Annick Joseph - Staff writer

LUMBERTON — A Fayetteville doctor who was operating an office in Pembroke was found guilty Tuesday of fraudulently prescribing narcotics.

Dr. Donovan Dave Dixon, 51, was convicted for conspiracy to unlawfully distribute Oxycodone and 20 counts of unlawful distribution of Oxycodone outside the scope of professional practice and not for a legitimate medical purpose, according to Don Connelly, a U.S. Department of Justice spokesman. The conviction came at the end of a four-day trial before Chief United States District Judge James Dever III.

The North Carolina Medical Board restricted Dixon’s prescription abilities beginning in 2012 until April 5, 2015, when the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Tactical Diversion Squad discovered that four of the top 10 Oxycodone prescribing pharmacies in North Carolina were based out of Lumberton, according to Connelly. Local and state law enforcement agencies, and local pharmacies identified Dixon as the likely cause.

Trial evidence showed Dixon prescribed high-strength and high-dosage Oxycodone to patients with little to no medical examination, according to Connelly. Witnesses testified they never met Dixon despite hundreds of prescriptions being issued in their names. A local drug dealer testified that Dixon wrote prescriptions for the powerful narcotic in the names of people he provided to Dixon in exchange for cash.

The pills were then sold on the streets of Robeson County, according to Connelly.

Dixon’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for July 23.

When The Robesonian called Dixon’s Pembroke medical office, a recording stated the number dialed was no longer in service. No information could be obtained Tuesday about Dixon’s license or other clinics at which he may have worked.

Dixon graduated from Rush Medical College in 1998 and completed his residency in family medicine at the University of Medicine and Dentistry in Newark, N.J., in 2001, according to a website for his medical family practice located at 812 Candy Park Road in Pembroke.

Four years later, Dixon completed an obstetrics and gynecology residency at New York Methodist Hospital, followed by serving in 2007 as part of the faculty training future physicians and medics for the United States Army Medical Corp.

The Drug Enforcement Administration’s Tactical Diversion Squad was the lead investigating agency on the case. The squad was assisted by the Robeson County Sheriff’s Office, N.C. State Bureau of Investigation Diversion and Environmental Crime Unit, Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigations, and Fayetteville Police Department. Lawrence Cameron, assistant United States attorney, represented the government during the trial.

Robert Higdon, United States attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, had strong words for the public about illicit prescription drugs.

“The United States Department of Justice is aggressively moving against all individuals who illegally distribute opioids and prescriptions drugs,” he said. “Whether those illegally pushing these drugs are on the streets or operating from a doctor’s office, we will pursue you, charge you and convict you for the crimes that are putting our citizens at risks.”

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Annick Joseph

Staff writer

Reach Annick Joseph by calling 910-416-5165 or via email at [email protected] or Facebook Annick MultiMedia Journalist.

Reach Annick Joseph by calling 910-416-5165 or via email at [email protected] or Facebook Annick MultiMedia Journalist.