News

Mountain View woman accused of running 'pill mill'

Doctor prescribed powerful, addictive medications for the slightest aches, authorities say

A Mountain View woman was arrested Friday, May 11, and charged with allegedly prescribing large quantities of highly-addictive, opiate-based painkillers to patients without conducting proper examinations or checking medical records, authorities with the county said.

Jasna Mrdjen was arraigned Monday, May 14, on multiple charges related to her alleged "pill mill," according to James Sibley, supervising deputy district attorney for the narcotics unit of Santa Clara County.

Mrdjen had been operating the Pain Management Clinic, located at 14125 Capri Drive in Los Gatos, for about two years when agents with the Santa Clara County Special Enforcement Team served her a search warrant on May 11, Sibley said.

Sibley said undercover agents with the enforcement team -- a multi-jurisdictional task force overseen by the California Department of Justice -- had visited Mrdjen's clinic many times over the course of a year in order to see how many pills they could get the doctor to prescribe and what they had to claim was ailing them in order to get their hands on the drugs.

In one instance, an undercover officer visited her office complaining of pain in his foot, Sibley said. According to the officer's report, Mrdjen touched the outside of his boot, without making him take it off, before sending him away with a prescription for 210 oxycodone-containing pills.

In addition to being accused of prescribing opiate-based medication -- which included oxycodone, percocet, vicodin and other name-brand and off-brand drugs -- she is also accused of prescribing benzodiazepines -- which are used to treat alcohol withdrawal, anxiety and muscle spasms, Sibley said.

According to Sibley, Mrdjen was running a cash business. It cost $240 for a first visit and $100 per visit after that.

She was arraigned on a 12-count felony complaint, which alleges Mrdjen conspired to sell controlled substances by helping drug dealers obtain narcotics; she is also accused of "issuing prescriptions outside the usual course of professional treatment" and "prescribing controlled substances to an addict."

If she is convicted of all the charges, Mrdjen could be sentenced to 12 years in prison.

Comments

 +   Like this comment
Posted by murderer
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on May 15, 2012 at 9:51 am

Some of her "patients" allegedly died from overdosing. The cops need to charge her with murder. Are they going easy on her because she is white?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by KP
a resident of South of Midtown
on May 15, 2012 at 10:14 am

@Posted by murderer - "Are they going easy on her because she is white?"

Good point! Hmmmm?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Enough!
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on May 15, 2012 at 10:28 am

I resent the hell out of this Dr. She makes it tougher for honest practitioners and people suffering with actual chronic pain to get the meds they need to function on a daily basis.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Enough!
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on May 15, 2012 at 10:29 am

And where was it written in the story that she is white? STOP BRINGING RACE INTO EVERYTHING! Isn't what she did bad enough? So tedious.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Enough!
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on May 15, 2012 at 10:48 am

Thinking about it, the stories I am hearing about this are kind of strange. I work on Capri Drive in Los Gatos, and I've never seen a line of people around anything on Capri over the last three years.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by murder
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on May 15, 2012 at 11:38 am

The Mercury-News has a more detailed article about this doctor, including the fact that she is white.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by nsperling
a resident of another community
on May 15, 2012 at 11:39 am

I'm curious why the headline wasn't "Mountain View doctor accused of running a pill mill" In getting people's attention to the article, Is it relevant that the doctor happens to be a woman? Why would your writer think that more compelling? No question what she did was a terrible misuse of her license and the hippocratic oath, but it behooves us all to look at just the pertinent facts. I actually think the headline was a bit misleading. It wasn't just any woman, it was a woman with a medical degree, which to me, is a far worse lapse.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by murderer
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on May 15, 2012 at 11:54 am

Maybe they want to emphasize that she is getting lighter charges because she is a white woman? What do you think a non-white man would be charged with?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by palm waving
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on May 15, 2012 at 11:56 am

"Maybe they want to emphasize that she is getting lighter charges because she is a white woman? What do you think a non-white man would be charged with?"

Terrorism.

also - did I miss the part about "allegedly died"?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Felicity
a resident of Los Altos
on May 15, 2012 at 11:57 am

Some of you may not be aware but the presence of pills on high school campuses is unbelievable. Kids can get anything and some resell as a way to make money. Because most of the parents that test, test for alcohol and marijuana only, this can slip by unnoticed for a long time. Xanex, percoset, vicodin, oxy, ecstasy, and on goes the list. If you teen is acting any different, too tired or too animated, break out the multi-substance tests (they are easily available at the drugstore and Amazon). I figured this out after having a kid take too many Xanex purchased at school. There is so much abuse of pharmaceutical drugs it is very disheartening. I am so glad they got this woman. Maybe this will stem the tide of pills at our local schools.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by palm waving
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on May 15, 2012 at 12:05 pm

"...and some resell as a way to make money. "

Entrepreneurship. No respect for small business. Time to listen to the libertarians and get rid of the drug laws for adults. For kids? hang the adults that supply kids under 18.

"If you teen is acting any different, too tired or too animated..."

That's the way to increase sales of tests! Every teen fits that description over the course of a week.

"Maybe this will stem the tide of pills at our local schools."

But Rush still gets his oxy, at least.

Web Link






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Posted by Enough!
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on May 15, 2012 at 12:33 pm

Many parents are not good about locking up their prescriptions, or controlling the dosage of a pain scrip prescribed for the kids, for example if one is injured in sports. Good luck telling people in Palo Alto what their kids are up to in regard to drugs and alcohol, denial is a river running strong and true through this City.


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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on May 15, 2012 at 1:16 pm

She's a despicable dirtbag if the allegations are true. I'm glad she was caught. She now has the death of an addict on her conscience - if she has one - because she contributed to his death by her amoral greed.

This is a weird article - it doesn't make clear that she's an M.D. or other relevant facts - how long she's been practicing, her age, if there are previous complaints about her. I'll look for more info as te case progresses in The Merc.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by maguro_01
a resident of Mountain View
on May 15, 2012 at 3:40 pm

Well, congrats to the law enforcement people anyway.

The remarks about students are troubling. As long as adolescent students are running around with hundreds in cash to spend there is no way to keep them out of trouble. NO WAY. You could put Web cams in every living room and an officer on every corner and it would accomplish little. If you want to keep your kid out of trouble stop supplying them with so much cash. If working means they have a lot of free cash, then they shouldn't work. Direct deposit to a college account might work. Pop for free lunch in a cafeteria. If you can't even do that then stop complaining.

I've heard of PA kids that drop hundreds a month on plastic - their parents thought that was a good strategy. Maybe - they are still spending too much and may never be as free in real life. Kids with too much money never learn to set priorities, make choices, and save money, skills necessary in any life. Further, the transactions on a card bill may not be real - there's likely some business in or near PA where kids can go and get cash for a bogus transaction. The market is just too good. Anyone can set up to take plastic through Web Link if they can't already. There's nothing wrong with Square.

I do realize that there are too many big business interests that make very large sums of money out of adolescents starting with media and consumer goods. Corporate music for adolescents isn't art, it's marketing from focus groups and renegade shrinks. If all that is necessary then teen drug problems are collateral damage and little can be done about them.

Drug companies make huge amounts from over supplying drugs with narrow medical usefulness. Most, though not all, of their use must be recreational. Drug companies own Congress and we pay twice the world price in the US for most drugs. If all that is a result of our political Pay-To-Play system, and it is, then teen drug problems are again collateral damage with no remedy.

At the bottom of all this remains one thing. The possibilities of kids to get in trouble are less the less money they have. PTA and parent groups should be able to assure that such a life is possible.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Jeanine
a resident of Menlo Park
on May 15, 2012 at 7:35 pm

I know this lady. She should go away for life!!!!! I have been looking at a way to turn her in for about a year now. She has aided to my childs addiction. The fact that my child DIDN'T need this drug was of no concern to her. She is the scum of the earth and I hope to GOD she doesn't get off. I really hate this woman.....


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on May 15, 2012 at 7:39 pm

Jeanine, how did your child happen upon this "doctor"? Was it a referral?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by atonement
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 16, 2012 at 9:12 am

I'm going to get flamed for this, but..

I'm not excusing anything this woman did. Addiction is horrible, and I think there is a special place in hell for people who prey on anyone through addiction of any kind.

But I also wonder why we as a society have so given up on redemption and rehabilitation? We have a greater percentage of our population in prison than anywhere else and we spend more money on prisons than I care to think about. And those prisoners get out and reoffend, because we have turned our penal system into a vengeful rather than a redemptive one, and if there's anything people learn in prison, it's how to associate with and be better criminals.

There are some people you want to throw away the key for, don't get me wrong. And I'm not speaking about this case specifically, because I don't know enough. But many get on the wrong track in life BECAUSE of their associations and we are better off as a society if we can focus on redemption. Redemption means atonement, which includes reparation. When we are simply vengeful, we lose the transformation that can come from real reparations. (And we end up spending a lot of money on prisons and prisoners that could better be spent creating opportunities.)

I think judges get stuck between a rock and a hard place on cases like this. They may give her a harsh sentence, and then we are all stuck paying until she gets out, which she will -- and then what? We've educated another person in becoming nonproductive, maybe even a better criminal. If they don't see the woman isn't a hardened criminal, and give her a lighter sentence because our system is the way it is, there is no real justice is that either. If we believed in redemption, there would be justice in the reparations process, and some good would come out of the pain and harm that was caused, not just more pain and expense forever in the future.

Well, those are my thoughts. I'm glad they stopped this person.


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