In May 1999 G. Douglas Talbott stepped down as president of the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) as a jury awarded Dr. Leonard Masters a judgment of $1.3 million in actual damages and an undisclosed sum in punitive damages for fraud, malpractice, and the novel claim of false imprisonment.
The fraud finding required a finding that errors in the diagnosis were intentional. Masters, who was accused of overprescribing narcotics to his patients was told by the director of the Florida Physician Health Program (PHP) that he could either surrender his medical license until the allegations were disproved or submit to a four-day evaluation.
Thinking he would have an objective and fair evaluation, Masters agreed to the latter. He was instead diagnosed as “alcohol dependent” and coerced into “treatment under threat of loss…
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