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Judge offers hope for dentist’s redemption

An Abingdon federal judge has decided not to impose prison time for a dentist who wrote phony prescriptions for nearly a decade to feed his own drug habit.

The decision by Chief U.S. District Judge James Jones provides hope for turning what one writer called a “harrowing story of addiction” to a tale of redemption for Dr. Peter Francisco, 58, of Tazewell. Francisco acknowledged taking as many as eight hydrocodone pills a day. He wrote prescriptions to others to get the drug.

According to Jones’ opinion, Francisco has completed a 12-week treatment program and is allowed to practice under a five-year monitoring program. “[T]he defendant has clearly recognized his addiction and taken exemplary steps to combat it,” Jones wrote, imposing a sentence of three years probation, a $10,000 fine, and 400 hours of community service.

Francisco could have been sentenced to up to 15 years in prison with his November plea agreement.

By Peter Vieth

One comment

  1. Finally – a thinking judge. Let’s stop throwing drug addicts in prison which only fuels their addiction at taxpayer expense of $30,000+ a year.

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