Virginia dentists suspended for alleged drug activity in exchange for dental work



VIRGINIA BEACH, Virginia – Two Virginia Beach dentists were forced to close after the VA Dental Council suspended their legal work permit.

According to the summary of the suspension, made public on the website of the board of dentistry, Dr. Gary Hartman would be accused of having prescribed more than 46,000 hydrocodone tablets, more than 20,000 tablets of Soma and nearly 8,000 tablets of oxycodone, as well as Vicodin, Tramadol, pills and anxiety medications to patients who had not been seen or who had not no need for the excessive amount that had been prescribed to them.

The orders themselves were not an alarming element for the DEA, the agency responsible for investigating allegations of misuse: it was the number of pills written to people for which agents reported that their appointments and ailments were not adapted to the prescribed medications.

In some parts of the report, the DEA discovered that Hartman had exchanged dental work for patients willing to be drug mules. During interviews, patients told the DEA that Hartman would repair their teeth or treat them without insurance, but that in return, they would have to fill an order that he had written and hand over the pills. .

Hartman was eventually screened for drugs by the DEA and looking for marijuana, opioids and amphetamines.

The Virginia Board of Dentistry said it had suspended Hartman's work permit in December 2018, but state investigators say Hartman had abused the system long before that.

In the summary of the suspension was one of Hartman's drug-seeking patients who died of an overdose in 2017. The report lists at least 22 patients to whom Hartman prescribed pills of this way. Dr. Arnold Joseph Berger, one of these patients, practiced dentistry about one kilometer away.

On February 1, 2019, his license was also suspended. The investigators said Berger had not only filled prescriptions for Hartman, but also opioids illegally prescribed to his patients and his wife.

WTKR spoke with the Virginia Board of Dentistry, who said Hartman's hearing on the suspension of his license was scheduled for May. Berger's was scheduled for March but will be continued.

None of the two dentists can practice dentistry at the moment.

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