CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The former manager of a pain clinic that served as a pill mill in Mingo County was at a loss for words as she stood before U.S. District Judge John Copenhaver waiting to hear her fate.
The judge sentenced Myra Sue Miller, 50, of South Williamson, Ky., to six months in federal prison and a year on supervised release Wednesday. She previously pleaded guilty in March to misusing a Drug Enforcement Administration registration number that didn't belong to her.
The number belonged to Dr. William Ryckman, who was convicted in March 2012 of misusing his DEA registration number and now is serving three years probation.
"I am truly sorry that I ever done this," an emotional Miller told the court. "I accept full responsibility . . . I certainly never would have done this had I not trusted Dr. Ryckman.
"I just don't know what to say. I'm sorry."
Miller was Ryckman's office manager at Mountain Medical on West Third Avenue in Williamson. Miller faxed several blank "doctors list" forms to Ryckman's Pennsylvania home on Feb. 17, 2010, according to court documents.
The doctor signed and faxed them back. The forms were then used, with his knowledge and permission, to prescribe controlled substances to patients he had not seen. Miller then directed others in the office to fill in the signed forms with the patients' information and information on the prescribed medication. She then faxed the forms to pharmacies in the area for the drugs to be dispensed.
Patients went to the clinic on Feb. 19, paid a fee and were directed to the pharmacies where she'd sent the forms to pick up medication. The patients were prescribed drugs such as hydrocodone, used to treat pain, and Xanax, an anti-anxiety medication, both of which are highly addictive and often abused.
"Every time we put a pill dealer out of business or shut down a pill mill, it's a big step toward getting this problem under control," U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin said in a release.
John Wooten, Miller's attorney, argued that Miller had cooperated substantially with investigators and prosecutors during the investigation into the pill mill. He said she met with investigators three times and "has assisted in any way asked of her."