SLO County doctor accused of negligence in prescribing narcotics

January 19, 2021


State prosecutors filed an accusation against Russ Levitan M.D., an anesthesiologist with offices in San Luis Obispo, Atascadero and Santa Maria, for negligence in his prescribing of narcotics, according to an accusation from the Attorney General of California.

The investigation focused on the treatment of three patients. If found guilty, Levitan faces probation, or having his license suspended or revoked.

In their allegation, prosecutors listed the patients by A, B or C to protect their confidentiality.

In Aug. 1, 2014, Patient A went to Levitan for treatment of body pain and headaches. Levitan was already prescribing oxycodone, methadone, morphine, clonezepam, promethazine and klonipin to Patient A at the time.

On Aug. 19, 2016, Levitan had Patient A take a urine drug screen, that came back showing the patient was not taking the morphine, despite her high-dose prescription, according to the accusation. A urine test conducted a month later was negative for oxycodone, again despite the patient’s claim she was taking high doses daily.

“Despite repeated failed urine toxicology tests, Levitan did not alter his prescribing,” according to the accusation.

Levitan’s prescriptions to Patient A in March and April 2016

Patient B began seeing Levitan for pain in July 2014, and similar to Patient A, Levitan prescribed multiple narcotics. In Jan. 2017, Levitan began prescribing Patient B’s cardiac medication, even though he is not a cardiologist.

Levitan’s prescriptions to Patient B in Jan. and Feb 2015

Patient C began seeing Levitan, who prescribed narcotics and performed several procedures such as steroid and lumbar facet injections, in July 2016.

On Jan. 17, 2017, Patient C told Levitan she had been hospitalized after blacking out for three days. Levitan slightly reduced two medications, while failing to add the hospital records to Patient C’s file, according to the accusation.

Levitan’s prescriptions to Patient C in Sept. and Oct. 2015

At that time, Patient C took a urine test that showed no amphetamine, even though the patient was allegedly taking phentermine daily. Another drug test on May 24, 2017, was negative for amphetamine and oxycodone, even though Patient C had a daily prescription for both drugs.

Because of Levitan’s alleged prescribing of narcotics after failed urine tests, prescribing of high-levels of narcotics and failures to document justification for the high doses, the state has accused Levitan of neglect. Levitan did not respond to a request for comment.

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…Patient C told Levitan she had been hospitalized after blacking out for three days…


Why did these 3 people spend so much time seeing him if they had such a problem. Could have switched to another doctor. They didn’t have to accept any of the medication or asked to cut back. Couldn’t get a second opinion? What caused anyone of you to get get help from him in the first place?

I witnessed a couple so pissed off that they were almost out the door, when the husband turned around and said he’s not being cut off charging back towards Dr. Levatin using a large choice of words. I myself have been told that he can’t do anymore for me and why.

This sounds a couple people who have been cut off or dose reduced and throwing a fit. They didn’t have a problem sucking down the meds givin to them.

If I understand correctly, the allegation is that the patients may have been passing the meds onto others and that since the Dr. had the drug screening results, that he should have put two and two together.

slocorruptionhater is correct. They were not taking their meds but most likely selling them

Phentermine is NOT an amphetamine and would not result in a positive drug screen for someone prescribed that drug.

The SAMHSA amphetamine test on the 5-panel urine test is the most common test administered for detection of the presence of phentermine

It’s still not an amphetamine. Phentermine would be considered a false positive for amphetamine and further testing (LC-MS/MS) would confirm that.