The Virginia Board of Medicine has cleared a Roanoke physician it had accused of improperly prescribing painkillers to a patient.
In an order filed late last week, the board dismissed disciplinary charges against Dr. Verna M. Lewis, an independent physician with a practice on Peters Creek Road.
Lewis had been accused of prescribing oxycodone to a chronic pain patient with a history of inpatient treatment for opioid dependence.
But after reviewing written records and hearing from Lewis during a 2½-hour hearing in Richmond last week, the board found no evidence that the patient had become addicted to painkillers.
“Rather, the record revealed that the patient had been diagnosed as opioid dependent, which was to be expected in light of the patient’s long-term, multiple and extensive medical issues,” the board’s written decision stated.
Many patients become physically dependent on the medications they take, but not addicted. Addiction is a brain disease that causes out-of-control drug use, often accompanied by harmful or criminal behavior to satisfy a craving for more drugs, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.