Crime & Courts

Federal prosecutors want bond revoked in Wichita doctor’s drug case

Steven R. Henson
Steven R. Henson File photo

Federal prosecutors want a judge to revoke bond for a Kansas doctor accused of over-prescribing pain medication blamed in one patient’s death, insisting he illegally continued to write prescriptions with a suspended state medical license.

Steven Henson’s lawyer, Kurt Kerns, counters in court filings that the Wichita doctor’s use of his Oklahoma medical license to write prescriptions for his wife and a longstanding patient for non-controlled substances was appropriate. Kerns added that prosecutors filed for the bond revocation a day after a deadline for Henson to accept their plea offer.

A 31-count indictment returned against Henson in January 2016 accuses him of writing prescriptions for cash, when there wasn’t a medical need and for people other than the ones who came to see him. Prosecutors allege the scheme lasted from July 2014 to August 2015 and resulted in a patient’s death.

Charges against Henson, 55, include unlawfully distributing the painkiller oxycodone, the anti-anxiety drug alprazolam and methadone, which often is used to wean addicts off heroin.

Prosecutors have alleged that a pharmacist filed a complaint about Henson and investigators found he was giving pain-medication prescriptions for $300 in cash at the time. Authorities also determined that Nicholas McGovern, who received prescriptions from Henson, died in 2015 of an overdose of alprazolam and methadone.

Henson has pleaded not guilty, and U.S. District Judge J. Thomas Marten on Tuesday rescheduled Henson’s trial to begin on July 24.

Prosecutors argue that a month after Henson’s indictment, Kansas regulators suspended his medical license. But investigators claim Henson continued to write six prescriptions for two people, illegally telling the pharmacists to fill them using his valid Oklahoma license.

Kerns said that his client hasn’t prescribed anything that would run afoul of the law. At Kerns’ behest, the attorney added, Henson no longer will write any prescriptions.

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