Texas doctor sentenced in West Virginia pill mill investigation - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

Texas doctor sentenced in West Virginia pill mill investigation

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Fernando Gonzales-Ramo Fernando Gonzales-Ramo

A federal judge has sentenced Fernando Gonzales-Ramo, a Texas doctor who operated a pill mill out of a makeshift clinic, to 71 months in prison.

Prosecutors claim Gonzales-Ramo traveled to West Virginia every three months from September 2011 through March 2013, charging $450 to $500 for pain medication prescriptions.  Gonzales-Ramos saw patients in a building in Logan that did not have running water, an exam table or other medical equipment.

Prosecutors say payments were deposited into the physician's personal bank accounts.

"Individuals are desperate to continue to use those substances and it's not because they're feeling good when they are using those substances. It's too prevent them from feeling bad when they don't use those substance," said Genise Lalos, the clinic director at the Charleston Treatment Center.

When addicts have nowhere to turn or cannot cope with their addiction they come to a place like the Charleston Treatment Center, a facility specializing addiction rehabilitation.

"If you're really motivated and it's what you want to do and you're through with being addicted and you're tired of that and really want help, it's easy to find," said Lalos.

Treatment can cost less than an addiction. Lalos said most treatment programs are covered largely by insurance.

"There's really very little issue someone would have getting treatment. If you want it, it's out there," she said.