A Maplewood dentist is facing a civil complaint from the U.S. Attorney's Office for illegally prescribing opioids without a valid medical reason.
Oral surgeon Dr. Jerry Kent Brunsoman, whose clinic is the Institute of Facial Surgery St. Paul, is alleged to have "unlawfully issued multiple prescriptions" of oxycodone and hydrocone "without a legitimate medical purpose."
He's also accused of failing to keep accurate and complete records regarding the controlled substances he prescribed from his clinic, a U.S. Attorney's Office release said.
As a result of his alleged actions, "hundreds of doses of controlled substances are unaccounted for and presumed to have been diverted for illicit purposes."
"Medical professionals have an obligation to maintain accurate and complete records of their prescribing practices, particularly when it comes to highly addictive controlled substances," Minnesota's U.S. Attorney Erica MacDonald said.
"My office and our DEA partners will use all available tools to address the devastating opioid epidemic."
If found liable, Brunsonman is facing civil penalties and "injunctive relief" for violating the Controlled Substances Act.
Opioid overdoses accounted for more than 42,000 deaths in 2016, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services notes.
Of those, 40 percent involved a prescription opioid, which became more prevalently used since the '90s, when pharmaceutical companies assured the medical community that opioid pain relievers were not addictive.
"Increased prescription of opioid medications led to widespread misuse of both prescription and non-prescription opioids before it became clear that these medications could indeed be highly addictive," the HHS says.