A former local doctor tied to seven overdose deaths has been sentenced to 20 years in federal prison.

Howard Gregg Diamond, 57, had a practice called Diamondback Pain and Wellness Center in Paris and another in Sherman. According to court documents, he wrote prescriptions for pain medication without medical reasoning, resulting in the death of at least seven of his patients.

He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute a controlled substance, as well as healthcare fraud, and aiding and abetting, according to the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Texas.

He faced life in prison and took the plea deal of 20 years.

“Physicians like Dr. Diamond have been fueling the opioid crisis in this country,” U.S. Attorney Joseph D. Brown said in a prepared statement. “The number of pills that he was putting out on the street was shocking. And in this case, death was linked to those pills. To reduce the impact of opioids, doctors have to take their obligations seriously, and if they don’t, there will be more prosecutions like this.”

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