Jasper, Tenn., doctor faces charges on pain pills

Jasper, Tenn., doctor faces charges on pain pills

December 3rd, 2013 by Todd South in Local Regional News

A Jasper, Tenn., doctor faces 14 federal counts of illegally prescribing pain pills out of his women's clinic over the past three years.

Dr. Charles Michael Howe faces a criminal information list charging that at least 14 times between October 2011 until June 2013 he prescribed hydrocodone, oxycodone and methadone "not for a legitimate medical purpose."

Howe's attorney, John H. Cameron Jr., also of Jasper, said Monday that he could not comment on pending litigation. He also said his client would not comment on the charges.

A voice mail response to a call to Mike Howe's Women's Clinic at 980 Tennessee Highway 28 in Jasper said that it was no longer a working number.

The Tennessee Department of Health lists Howe's medical license as having expired on Aug. 31. He graduated medical school in 1966 and obtained his Tennessee license in 1972.

He has no history of disciplinary action for his entire 41-year Tennessee medical practice, according to the health department.

The doctor faces the charges through a criminal information, which is not an indictment by a grand jury but can still be used to obtain a plea or take the case to trial.

The case is being handled by the offices of two U.S. attorneys, the local office of the Eastern District of Tennessee and the Northern District of Alabama.

At times separate prosecutors' offices will work together if offenses overlap jurisdictions or if there is a conflict of interest, in which one office recuses itself from the case.

Federal prosecutor Gregg Sullivan is listed as the lead attorney. He declined to comment on the case.

As part of the filing, the federal government is requesting that Howe forfeit a 2005 Ford Thunderbird convertible as property "intended to be used, in any manner or part, to commit, or to facilitate the commission, of offenses," according to court documents.

Few additional details were available from the three-page criminal information document. The list of offenses shows the dates, drug and initials of 14 separate individuals who were allegedly given the illegal prescriptions.

Contact staff writer Todd South at tsouth@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6347. Follow him on Twitter @tsouthCTFP.