Indiana suspends license of doctor accused of trading pills for sex

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana authorities suspended the medical license Thursday of a pain doctor facing drug-dealing charges for allegedly trading pills for sex with a patient.

The Indiana Medical Licensing Board approved an agreement between Dr. Tristan Stonger and the Attorney General’s Office immediately suspending his license to practice over allegations of unsafe prescribing practices and inappropriate sexual relationships with patients.

image of Tristan Stonger
Image of Dr. Tristan Stonger courtesy WISH-TV

“The allegations that this license holder used his position of trust and authority to exploit vulnerable patients and possibly feed their addictions poses an immediate threat to public health and safety,” Attorney General Zoeller said.

Stonger, 68, formerly operated out of Pain Management Centers of Indiana located in Bloomington, Indianapolis and Peru.

His attorney, Thomas Farlow, said Stonger is concerned about his patients and wants to get out of jail so he can work on moving his patients and their files to new doctors. Farlow has filed a motion seeking to have Farlow’s bond reduced from $100,000 cash or $500,000 surety bond. Stonger was being held in the Marion County Jail in Indianapolis following his arrest Monday.

Stonger faces five counts of dealing in narcotics or a controlled substance and one count of dispensing a legend drug illegally. The license suspension will remain in effect while the criminal charges are pending and until further order of the licensing board.

An unidentified patient reported to Zoeller’s office that she felt pressured to trade sex for pain pills. A state prescription drug monitoring database showed Stonger had prescribed this patient the painkillers morphine, oxycodone and hydrocodone and the stimulant Adderall this year, the office said in a news release.

Also, a former employee of Stonger reported concerns that Stonger was “engaging in inappropriate sexual activities in the office and failing to properly care for his patients,” the news release said. The ex-employee told a Drug Enforcement Administration officer that Stonger had “special patients” with whom he would spend unusually long periods in examination rooms and to whom she believed he prescribed higher amounts of narcotics.

The DEA executed search warrants at offices and homes belonging to Stonger beginning in February.

Farlow had no comment on the criminal charges Stonger faces, saying he had not yet received the investigation reports.

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