A long-serving Denver-area psychiatrist faces federal charges for allegedly prescribing high doses of opioids and other controlled substances as part of his cash medical practice, even after learning that patients no ‘were not using the drugs as prescribed.
A federal grand jury has indicted Dr Howard Weiss, who has practiced in Greenwood Village since 2003, with 120 counts related to his ordinances and finances, according to the indictment that was unsealed last week.
The document alleges that Weiss prescribed pills – including amphetamines like Adderall and benzodiazepines like Xanax and Valium – to patients without first trying lower doses or alternative solutions, prosecutors said.
“Between approximately August 2013 and June 2019, the accused, Howard Weiss, distributed controlled substances outside the usual course of professional practice and without a legitimate purpose,” federal prosecutors wrote in the indictment.
He also prescribed addictive substances to people with substance use disorders, even after drug tests showed they were using drugs outside of those prescribed for them or using the pills. on prescription in quantities greater than prescribed, indicates the indictment.
At least one of Weiss’ patients died of an overdose, according to the indictment. The indictment does not provide further details about the death, and Weiss is not charged with any crime directly related to a death.
“Weiss prescribed high doses of benzodiazepines to people who were also taking opioids or who were being treated for opioid abuse,” the indictment says. “He did this despite the fact that these combined substances put these people at an increased risk of potentially fatal overdoses.”
Weiss appeared in Colorado U.S. District Court on Friday after his arrest. He has pleaded not guilty, according to court records online. He then posted a $ 100,000 bond.
Weiss’ attorney did not respond to emails seeking comment. A man who answered the phone number listed for Weiss’ psychiatry practice said it was the wrong number.
Weiss is charged with prescriptions he gave to 16 patients, who are only identified in the indictment by their initials. Over a three-month period, a patient was prescribed 9,000 Adderall tablets, 480 Soma muscle relaxant tablets and 480 Xanax tablets, according to the indictment.
Weiss also routinely failed to check Colorado’s prescription drug watchdog program before prescribing drugs, according to the indictment. The program shows if a patient has similar prescriptions with multiple doctors.
Weiss obtained a Colorado medical license in 2003, although his Virginia medical license was suspended in 1995 on a conviction on a federal mail fraud charge involving fraudulent billing, according to documents on file with the Regulatory Agencies Department of the United States. Colorado.
Weiss was sentenced to three years probation for fraud and ordered to pay more than $ 35,000 in restitution to Medicare and two insurance companies.
The Colorado Medical Council suspended Weiss’ medical license on November 27, 2019, after an investigation into his prescribing practices, according to council documents.
“The committee reviewed reports that the care and treatment (of Weiss) of several patients was below generally accepted standards of medical practice,” found an investigative committee of the medical council. “Specifically, (Weiss) prescribed multiple controlled substances in high doses simultaneously to multiple patients, with minimal documentation of his patient encounters.”
Federal authorities are also seeking the confiscation of hundreds of thousands of dollars Weiss earned from his Colorado practice, according to the indictment.