NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A federal prosecutor said Friday that the Justice Department has taken a first-of-its-kind action to temporarily stop two Tennessee pharmacies, their owner and three pharmacists from dispensing opioids and other controlled substances.

Copies of court filings provided by U.S. Attorney Donald Cochran’s office say Celina, Tennessee-based Oakley Pharmacy Inc., known as Dale Hollow Pharmacy, and Xpress Pharmacy of Clay County LLC illegally filled thousands of opioid and other prescriptions without legitimate medical purpose.

Two people have died and numerous others were hospitalized for overdoses shortly after obtaining drugs from the pharmacies, Cochran’s office said.

The filings say Thomas Weir, who owns both pharmacies, oversaw operations and pharmacists Michael Griffith, John Polston and Larry Larkin illegally filled prescriptions, failing in the role pharmacists often play as the “last line of defense before a controlled substance that was prescribed without any legitimate medical purpose is sold to a patient.”

“The action supported today by the Drug Enforcement Administration should serve as a warning to those in the pharmacy industry who choose to put profit over customer safety,” said a statement from D. Christopher Evans, special agent in charge of DEA’s Louisville Field Division. That division covers Tennessee, Kentucky and West Virginia.

A judge signed an order to keep the pharmacies and four men from dispensing controlled substances and will soon set a hearing to consider a permanent injunction, said Cochran spokesman David Boling.

Calls to the two Tennessee pharmacies went unanswered Friday.


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