Indian-American doctor pleads guilty to illegally prescribing opioids

New York, May 16 (IANS) A 76-year-old Indian-origin physician has admitted that he illegally prescribed opioids to patients outside the usual course of his professional practice in the US.
Sawtantra Chopra, of Modesto in California, pleaded guilty to three counts of illegally prescribing opioids and other medication, US Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced last week.
He is scheduled to be sentenced on September 5 by US District Judge Jennifer L. Thurston.
According to court documents, Chopra, who was arrested in 2018, prescribed drugs — including hydrocodone, alprazolam (Xanax), and Promethazine with codeine syrup — not for a legitimate medical purpose.
These drugs are highly addictive and commonly abused.
They affect the central nervous system and may only be prescribed when medically required.
Chopra was arrested in 2018 and surrendered his medical license in 2020.
He faces a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine.
The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.

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