N Baltimore pain clinic raided by the Feds, city health department says overdoses could spike

Posted at 5:51 PM, Apr 27, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-27 17:51:12-04

A spokesperson for the DEA tells ABC 2 News a task force made up of federal and local agencies raided Dr. Kofi Shaw-Taylor's offices on Falls Road Tuesday morning, calling it a pain management clinic.

The doors are locked, and there's a sign out front letting people know the practice is closed.  We don't have many details about the investigation into Shaw-Taylor, but the Maryland Attorney General's office says the Annapolis man was charged with Medicaid fraud.

"I was shocked to hear about this,” one patient said.

The woman says she's been coming to the clinic for the past year to get Suboxone, a narcotic used to treat opioid addiction.  It’s unclear how many people were being treated by Shaw-Taylor, however now they're all scrambling to find a new doctor and get new prescriptions.

"You can't just drop them like a hot potato like that because people gonna start doing crazy stuff, especially people who need medicine and they don't have their medicines, you know," she said.

That's the exact reason the Baltimore City Health Department immediately sent out an alert to hospitals, emergency service providers, treatment centers, first responders and other agencies about the raid.

Dear Partners,

Earlier this afternoon the DEA and other law enforcement agencies shut down a health care provider in North Baltimore. A significant number of patients struggling with addiction may be at an increased risk for overdose and/or go into withdrawal without medical support. The Baltimore City Health Department and Behavioral Health System Baltimore are collaborating to provide support to these vulnerable individuals in our community.

As a result:

  • Emergency Departments may see an increase in patients presenting with an overdose and with symptoms of withdrawal.
  • Emergency Medical Services may receive more calls than usual to respond to overdoses and people suffering from withdrawal.
  • Baltimore Crisis Response, Inc. may experience an increase in calls to the Crisis Information and Referral line from people in crisis or seeing help getting access to treatment.

In response, we ask:

  • Fentanyl Task Force Members to reach out to partners to let them know of the possibility of overdose spikes.
  • Baltimore Police Department to deploy officers trained and equipped with naloxone for patrol at least through next week, if possible.

BHSB will be positioning peer navigators near the facility to assist those who may need access to treatment and BCHD will continue monitoring the situation and will coordinating the city-wide response.

Please contact me with any questions, and thank you very much for alerting your teams to the potential crisis.

"The concern here is that patients of this prescriber who may have been receiving opioids prescribed by him could go into withdrawal because they don't have access to medications that they're used to taking, or could seek out other substances on the street and wind up overdosing," Mark O’Brien, Baltimore City Health Department Director of Opioid Overdose and Treatment said.

He says it's all hands on deck.  Emergency rooms may see more OD’s, call centers could have a surge in folks looking for treatment, and the Health Department is asking City Police to deploy patrol officers trained and equipped with naloxone, an opioid overdose treatment.

As for the 67-year-old doctor's patients, they just want help.

"I gotta try to find me another doctor, that's basically what I’m gonna have to do because I don't think this gonna be open up any time soon,” the woman said.

If you went to Dr. Kofi Shaw-Taylor's clinic, or just need help with addiction or mental health issues, you can call the city crisis 24-hour hotline at 410-433-5175.