Tucker 'Pill Mill' Busted Again

For the second time in as many weeks, authorities make arrests at Southern Health Management.

Southern Pain Management in Tucker, which was raided by Federal agents June 14, was targeted again Tuesday and a doctor was arrested, according to authorities.

Dr. Michael Assevero, a gynecologist, was charged with conspiracy to distribute Oxycodone during yesterday's raid and was taken away in handcuffs. "I'm just practicing good medicine," he said to a reporter. He remains in custody at the Dekalb County jail.

Federal drug enforcement agent Chuvalo Truesdell told WXIA-TV that the place reminded him of a crack house from the 1980s. "Drug dealers are drug dealers, whether it's a person who's on a corner dealing crack, or a clinician in a coat," said Truesdell. ""These are patients who know they can come to this particular place and score prescriptions."

Nick Stabile, an employee at Southern Health Management - which is next to the DeKalb County Police headquarters - told CBS the D.E.A. is on a witch hunt. "We don't do anything wrong here, we're by the book," he said.

Owner Jeffrey Gonzalez is out on bond of $50,000 following his June 14 arrest. He told Tucker Patch at the time: "That dog and pony show they put on at my medical center was intended to do what it did, make us look guilty. So sad our patients had to endure that."

The owner's mother, Pat Gonzalez, contacted Tucker Patch and said: "He has a genuine concern for those in pain due to accidents or medical conditions. There are so many who have had problems in finding doctors to treat them and prescribe the needed medication. He provided help for them at Southern Health Management that they so desperately needed."

Clinic patient Jen Phillips commented: "I hate this and I hate the stigma because a lot of valid patients are not getting help with chronic pain care. Not everyone is a pill head."

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Are you a patient at this clinic? Tell us in the comments below-

Jeffrey Chapel July 04, 2012 at 11:36 PM
I think that something needs to be done about our rights as Americans that are being severely violated. The more we let them run over us and the quality doctors that are working at Southern Health Man. the less we are going to get medical (quality) care from doctors like Dr. Asservero and others. They really care about the people coming there for treatment. It is doctors who will suffer so we will have quality care for all. It is a damn shame. Jeffrey Chapel
Concerned US Taxpayer July 05, 2012 at 06:15 AM
Its a shame this happened. This does not help those who really need help to live a somewhat good quality of life. As far as the pill addicts they will just get there fix somewhere else. This only makes the drug dealers on the street get richer. Drugs like heroin and others will only become rampant. This is just a shame because everything was done by the book there. Whos to say what each individual needed far as there health care. More and more people in chronic pain commit suicide daily. Something needs to be done about that. But unfortunately no one cares. Southern health really cared about their pts. The Dea needs to be getting the crack and heroin dealers off the street selling drugs to our kids and stopping drugs from coming into the US from other countries. But everyone knows that the hands are greased and the almighty dollar rules the world. Thats whats wrong with our country now.
Kalusa23 July 05, 2012 at 12:07 PM
This is a clear overreach by the law. It is blunderous, hurtful and expensive. The FBI is creating its own agenda of extralegal programs possibly due to the fact that they are overstaffed, over funded with poor leadership. The DR. they arrested is a fully licensed Dr. who treats people with chronic pain. This is the best intervention for some with chronic pain and these people need access and accountablility which this Dr. provides. Why can't law enforcement go after real criminals? Does busting a legit pain manangment practice somehow justify the FBI's unusually high number of employees, high tax payer costs, high incompetence. Perhaps it is the FBI that is really high.
kerri taylor July 05, 2012 at 01:58 PM
As a pharmacist, who has seen many of the patients who are recieving "valid prescriptions" from this phyiscian I can tell you this is a pill mill. Why is a gynecologist writing prescriptions for controlled substances? for men even? This was beyond his scope of practice. He's a gynecologist not a pain specialist. If you are in that much pain you should see a pain specialist. Physicians who are trained and authorized by the government to manage chronic pain on controlled substances for an extended period of time. A gynecologist is not trained to do that and shouldn't. The most he should give out, is some meds post-op which is usually for no longer than 6 weeks and is not considered chronic pain. Even if he was "helping" some patients who otherwise wouldn't get it. There are plenty of free clinics for immigrants or below poverty patients, as well as reduced for pay clinics that would have provided this service for them. Every health care professional is well aware that the DEA does not play with such practices. As a physician being investigated he had plenty of notices to cease this practice and he didn't . Why because he is making 7-8times more than everyone else simply because he's writing for controlled substances. Honestly, he's a bad doctor, because instead of attempting to help treat his patients, he's palliating them with pain meds. A woman who had a C-section, should not be on pain meds for 10months. Shame on him and let this be a warning to others
Pat Gonzalez July 07, 2012 at 01:31 AM
I view Kerri as pompous and opiniated. Apparently she is stuck in her own little "cocoon" as a pharmacist (or perhaps she is really a pharmacy tech.) It sounds like she has possibly "shadowed" Dr. Assevro to know so much about him and his qualifications. She apparently is not aware of his certification in pain management. I give more credence to the many patients who are obviously receiving the proper treatment and medication from Dr. Asservo, given their testimonials. Apparently Kerri's pharmacy classes did not include any law courses or else she would not be slandering this physician. I only hope he files a lawsuit against her. Maybe it will keep her mouth "zipped" with her biased opinions. My mother always said " a little knowledge is dangerous."
Christa S July 07, 2012 at 05:58 AM
100% agree with every word. Now if they would just arrest and shut down the rest of the pill mills around here, we could maybe put a dent in the epidemic of drug abuse. The people they write oxy for do not have chronic pain. They are mostly 18-25 year olds in perfect health. Someone with common sense would know there is no legitimate reason for them to be taking 5-6 oxycodone's a day.
Mary Bradley July 07, 2012 at 04:42 PM
Is it really that hard to understand? A doctor either has or doesn't have the certification to write a prescription of a certain type. If he/she has it, they are bound to prescribe the meds responsibly. From the story above and the limited layman's knowledge I have re: doctors and pharmacists, it seems obvious this clinic was not being run to help pain sufferers *as much as* to get big money from dealing out strong drugs. I used to think pharmacists...well I didn't know what they had to know (years of exhaustive study on drugs and interactions) and go through (years of angry and suffering people blaming them for their pain). Now I've watched 3 roommates go through pharmacy school and boy would I ever trust a pharmacist over a doctor in any matter of drug safety. Doctors (and pharmacists) are trained to do specific things. Why would you trust your health to someone offering relief but not qualified as the proper physician to prescribe it? There ARE QUALIFIED PAIN PHYSICIANS who know much better than any gynecologist and they're not actually out of reach, though they may be more careful about giving out drugs since they're trained in that area. Ah yes. That's why.
Jon July 13, 2012 at 06:12 PM
To the pharmacist/ maybe you don't understand how a pain management clinic works but this is how southern and all those who comply with the laws work. If I walk in and want to be seen I have to give the phone number to the place I had an MRI in the last sixth months. They are required by law not to take any documents from me but have the MRI phacility fax it to them. I have give my pharmacy records and show that I am not currently under the care of another pain doctor. Again they don't take any doc from me they call each and every pharmacy I have been too in the last 2 years and have them fax over the records. They run my name trough Casper a national data base that checks to see if I have filled a controlled substance in the last 30 days. Then if all that checks out I go to triage where I am required to take a drug test ever visit. If I test positive for drugs not proscribed I get a written warning. If I test positive a second time I get dismissed. So for you to assume 18-25 year old kids just walk in and say "hey I'm in pain write me a script" is assnine. This doctor use to be a gyno you stupid fuck but this article left out the fact that he went on to get a specialty license to practice pain managment. So how many "drug dealers" are going to go through all those hoops and prove they have a serious injury just to score 90 oxycodones? You are a stupid mother fucker.
Jon July 13, 2012 at 06:38 PM
I believe the real drug dealers are so smart the DEA can't find em. Pain clinics are easy targets to make it look like these fuck heads are doing something. They couldn't find a real drug dealer if he nocked the window of cop and tried to sell him crack
Jack Karrington July 14, 2012 at 03:39 PM
One, why has there been such an explosion in this Metro area of Pain Clinics. Indeed, if the doctor who was arrested was not in violation he would not be up for charges. Two, why so many out of state patients coming in for routine check and prescriptions? Was there a shortage of doctors and meds in their respective states? Three, can you honestly tell me that the people operating this organization did not know of this? Four, should all who were involved not be held accountable for this "fronted" drug distribution problem? The answer appears obvious to some, and inconvenient and troublesome to others.
Jack Karrington July 14, 2012 at 03:45 PM
Imagine that.
Jack Karrington July 14, 2012 at 03:50 PM
Totally agree, Mary. The drug industry, in itself, thrives on the money it makes from "sick" individuals. Prescriptions are being handed out loosely because of this BIG money. This is not an issue regarding pain, as is the issue of the almighty dollar.
Jack Karrington July 14, 2012 at 03:55 PM
Kerri, you are spot on. If individuals choose to bury their heads in the sand to the reality and truth of this matter, self suffication will quite possibly be their end result.
Joe Thomas July 15, 2012 at 06:23 PM
Dear Jon, In that the physician in question was indeed arrested, and hauled up to the pokey...something tells me he wasn't quite in compliance and he wasn't prescribing jelly beans. It does, in fact, sound as if your physician is in compliance and for you I am grateful. As for the others, given Oxy like M&M's....I do hope they use them wisely.
Jeff Gonzalez July 17, 2012 at 08:41 AM
I like how some people on here have already skipped the trial and convicted everyone.
James July 18, 2012 at 08:40 PM
Perhaps if you had cut the DEA in on your profits, they would of had a "blind eye". ;)
Megan Young Thomas September 29, 2012 at 02:56 AM
Kerri, I completely agree. In addition, my own father is under treatment for pain management after 2 spine surgeries and ongoing issues that will never be resolved by surgery. He appreciated the epidurals, not the pill popping. And certainly not from a Gynecologist!! There are legit pain mngmt centers and they teach the body how to cope and taper off the "hard stuff" or the narcotics that are addictive. Its usually done in house, NOT by filling pill refills all over the county and pooping/selling at home. Thank you DEA.
Megan Young Thomas September 29, 2012 at 03:02 AM
Mary, you said it better than I ... Pat G, you need to calm down before someone sues you. Just support your son and quietly let the system work or you will have more than the DEA knocking at your door and I hope you will come out on top. Best of luck to you and yours and again, try to calm down so as to not invite even more negative responses! And, no Gyn needs to "treat" or prescribe pills repeatedly to a male!!! Have to admit it is suspicious- he asked for it. It- being the attention of the DEA. Best of luck to you and your family during this time.
Megan Young Thomas September 29, 2012 at 03:04 AM
he he he.
Jeremy Shane williams December 20, 2012 at 02:14 PM
I was a patient at southern health. I am also a recovered alcoholic/addict with 6 years sobriety and in my day of "hitting scripts" southern health would not have been the clinic i would have went too because they do an enormous amount of background on what pharmacies ive been to..what doctors ive seen and gave me a drug test every time. I chose southern health because just at walk in it didnt look like the pill mills ive been to in the past to cop scripts. I have zero desire to return to that destructive lifestyle. After a gruesome and extensive backround i made it to triage and also to my surprise their team counceled me on not only proper medication usage but boatloads of additional pain management techniques. Meditation to relieve stress....they taught me stress increased my pain. Getting the proper amount of rest decreased my pain is what dr assevero taught among others. A herniated disc with spinal stenosis is a painful and debilitating injury that i have and southern health doesnt deserve the abuse that the DEA has incompetently put them under. Thank you southern health for your service. To the poor misguided pharmacist, Do you think assevero has only one certification? Why would the Dea only highlight that in their comments? Also if they were a pill mill why would they set up shop RIGHT next door to the dekalb police station??? Please use your brains.
Jeffrey John Gonzalez February 07, 2013 at 03:56 AM
Thank you for the kind words Jeremy, we are sorry we can't be there for you now thanks to the corruption of the DEA and all of the other police agencies involved.
Jeffrey John Gonzalez February 07, 2013 at 03:58 AM
Imagine if you knew what number came after four, I would have really been in trouble.
wayne d March 20, 2013 at 01:02 PM
Where can i find some help?? Im a 47 year old man that lives in pain every day.i live outside clemson south carolina. In this area mentioning the word "pain" gets you dismissed from any doctor.Jeff Gonzalez.Its people like you that gives light to people like me.I dont care what anyone says.Even if you are out to make money,its worth every penny for somebody like me to pay.Jeff, you and your family are in my prayers and please anyone let me know of anyplace that can help me.ive had chronic pain for over 15 years.im not a doper.im a dad of 3 kids and my wife is a registered nurse.Good luck Jeff
steve dewig March 20, 2013 at 01:24 PM
Isn't this what goes on in Mexico all the time? i have heard where people go to Mexico from US to get prescription pills without a prescription. You can purchase illegal drugs there too. So I guess this means if you want illegal drugs then you should be allowed to purchase them and no person has the right to tell you that you cannot. So then illegal drugs must be good for you...because you say so. ah!
wayne d March 20, 2013 at 02:16 PM
Dont be an idiot.i never said anything about illegal drugs.im not now nor have ever been a user of illegal drugs.I dont even drink or smoke cigarettes.I would never go to mexico to get my meds.im a lawbiding citizen.People like you make me so angry.If your mother was in serious daily pain you would do whatever it took to make her more comfortable.I hope someday you come down with a chronic illness and everyone treats you the way you just did me.how stupid?? Not once was illegal drugs mentioned
wayne d March 20, 2013 at 02:47 PM
All people hear about is how bad people like jeff gonzalez are and how bad their company is but you never get to hear about the hundreds of people that places like his do help.of course there are idiots and conmen who abuse their right to medical care and use places like this for their own personnal gains.Why should it be taken out on the rest of us who are legitimitely in pain on a daily basis? I had a very professional job as an insurance salesman.i was robbed doing a night deposit at my bank and i was shot in my stomach.the bullet split up into several pieces and entered into my spinal region.the bullet is still there because theres no way to get it out.the bullet shifts often and puts me in terrible pain.enough pain that i havent been able to work in ten years.Now.i was able to work when i was allowed to take pain meds.the meds didnt remove all pain but made it bearable.Now tell me mr.know it all, what gives you or anyone else the right to tell me im not allowed to take a medicine that would increase my ability to live a better life? If i ended misusing my meds its on me.not on the doctors.
greg May 23, 2013 at 04:53 AM
Is this place still open??does anyone know??
Kevin Madigan (Editor) May 23, 2013 at 01:52 PM
It's closed, Greg.
Jeffrey John Gonzalez October 03, 2013 at 02:08 AM
The clinic is still there Greg, I have leased the building to a doctor. A year and a half later and still not indicted. The DEA, Georgia Drugs and Narcotics, Agent William Manning, Dekalb Police (my next door neighbors), you are all lying,criminals, that steal and deal drugs. Anytime any of you want to meet in person, I'm down. Leave the tasers and guns.


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