Suboxone patients scramble after doctors arrested

INDIANAPOLIS - After four doctors were arrested during a DEA raid last week, many of their patients were left to fend for themselves without their doctors or the drug suboxone.

The Drug Enforcement Administration and Hamilton-Boone County Drug Task Force arrested 11 people during last Friday’s raid. The four doctors allegedly ran a system of clinics aimed at helping addicts kick painkillers. They are accused of illegally selling a drug that's supposed to aid in rehabilitation.

Some of the patients who have been cut off because their doctors were arrested have contacted treatment centers like Aspire Indiana.

MORE: 4 central Indiana doctors arrested in DEA raid

"That person has lost control over their drug use. That is what drug addiction is. In order to regain control they are gonna need a lot of support and therapy. Opiate addiction is particularly difficult. The support through a 12-step program, out-patient treatment and medication are all strategies we use to help that person," said Dan Brown, lead clinician for addiction services at Aspire.

David Hayes was found outside the now-closed Carmel office of 68-year-old Dr. Larry Ley who was arrested and charged with 11 felony counts. He seemed lost and confused about what to do and where to go.

Hayes was not alone. DEA officials believe that Ley, 47-year-old Dr. George Agapios of Fishers, 58-year-old Dr. Ronald Vierk of Richmond and 52-year-old Dr. Luella Bangura of Lafayette have many patients in similar straits. 

The doctors all are facing felony counts of dealing suboxone, a schedule III controlled substance that came on the market to treat heroin and painkiller addiction. However, it can be addictive too.

Help for people like Hayes is out there, but at Aspire, those addicted to suboxone need to have insurance to qualify for their program.

Aspire officials anticipated being busy while trying to see the patients who need help, but acknowledged there is no quick fix. 

The doctors arrested in the case have hefty bonds. Ley was being held on $1 million bond in the Hamilton County Jail and Bangura was held on $1 million bond in the Howard County Jail.

Agapios was free on $425,000 bond and Vierk was free on $175,000 bond.

Follow Derrik Thomas on Twitter: @derrikthomas

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