Kokomo patient says over-prescribed drugs ruined him

Four doctors at the Wagoner Medical Center are under investigation.
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A group of doctors are in hot water with the DEA and the Attorney General after patients were over-prescribed powerful prescription drugs.

One man says those prescriptions almost ruined his life.

Scott Rinker still keeps the prescription bottles left over from his days as a patient of Dr. Marilyn Wagoner. He started going to the Wagoner Medical Center in Kokomo because they were, at the time, the best in town.

"I liked the Wagoners. At one point they were great doctors, you know, they had a great reputation they did a lot of good in our community. But that was back then," Rinker said.

This week, the Indiana Attorney General announced that Dr. Marilyn Wagoner and her husband, Dr. Don Wagoner, along with Drs. William Terpstra and Robert Brewer, who have been practicing medicine at the Wagoner Medical Centers, are under investigation by numerous agencies, including the DEA.

The problem, according the Attorney General, is the dangerous prescribing habits that may have resulted in the deaths of at least 12 patients. As a former patient, Rinker is not surprised by the allegations.

"My wife and I would complain because I was just out of it. She voiced her opinion, we got into an argument with the physician's assistant and he would just say 'Take your medicine'," said Rinker.

During a four-year period, Rinker came into the Wagoner Medical Center once a month and was given a laundry list of medications.

"A number of pain killers, muscle relaxers, sleep aids," he said.

He said the combination turned him into a zombie.

"I wanted off the morphine, I wanted off the oxycodone. My family just begged me to stop taking it," Rinker said.

Eventually, he said the prescription drugs took a toll.

"Well it was causing me stomach pains. I mean, it just ate a hole in my stomach," he said.

His pains returned and his teeth started to rot, he says, from too much prescription morphine.

"There is a tooth back here that is just...Pfffft. (Gone?) Yep," said Rinker.

The four doctors are scheduled to appear in front of the medical licensing board next week. Until then, they are still free to practice.

So what is Indiana doing about prescription drug abuse?

Lawmakers are working a new law that would require patients names to be cleared by state before a prescription is filled and it would also speed up investigations of doctors suspected of over-prescribing certain drugs.