Doctor accused of getting patients hooked on drugs

San Diego medical examiner found doctor Thota had 15 patients die of drug overdoses over seven years

(CNN) – A San Diego area doctor was arrested Wednesday. Authorities say he prescribed powerful narcotic painkillers to young female patients in exchange for sex.

Dr. Naga Raja Thota, of the Navajo Pain Management Clinic said, “They are playing with fire, but we explain to the patient that we are playing with fire. Be careful.”

In 2012, Naga Raja Thota, who runs the Navajo Pain Management Center in El Cajon, was the focus of an LA Times investigation into prescription drug overdoses.

He told the LA Times, “We tell them every time that they come for follow-up. This medication can kill you, you know that right? ”

He was one of three doctors profiled. The LA Times looked through San Diego medical examiner records and found doctor Thota had 15 patients die of drug overdoses over seven years.

Nearly half of Americans know someone addicted to painkillers

Dr. Thota went on to say, “It bothers me yes, it saddens me yes, but I’m going to stop my practice? I don’t think so, because somebody has to do this to help these unfortunate people.”

D.E.A. agents raided Thota’s office and arrested him Wednesday. He’s charged with dispensing pain medications without a legitimate medical purpose. A federal indictment alleges he got several women hooked on opiates and traded drugs for sex.

According to these court documents, some of those sex acts happened in the parking lot of his medical practice. We’re told he posted bail and is out of jail. Still allowed to practice medicine, but with limits when comes to opiates and women.

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