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Highland Co. doctor charged with drug trafficking

LOGAN, OH (WCMH) --  A Hillsboro doctor is facing felony drug charges -- accused of abusing his power for personal financial gain.

Investigators said Doctor John Hodge took cash in exchange for Oxycodone, Methadone and Xanax, all prescription drugs given without a medical reason.

Tracy Flannery of Hillsboro said she was a patient of Dr. Hodge. She saw him on Tuesday for the first time for allergies and said that appointment ended in tears.

"He didn't take my blood pressure, didn't check my chest, nothing - looked at my record and accused me of drug-seeking," said Flannery.

In fact, Hodge is the one accused of drug issues. He was busted on that same day after a month-long investigation. Investigators, using a confidential informant, made a drug purchase. Several southern Ohio police departments, along with the Fairfield, Hocking and Athens Counties Drug Taskforce were involved in the investigation and arrest.

"He would do this with select patients from him, and then in exchange for the prescriptions he would accept cash and a portion of the prescriptions he was writing," said Sgt. Caleb Moritz with the Major Crimes Unit.

Moritz said they arrested Dr. Hodge after one drug buy, because he was writing prescriptions for three months worth of drugs. He said several thousand pills were seized in the search of his business and home.

Flannery said she feels betrayed by someone who took an oath to help people.

"I am very hurt, and angry, I'm very angry," she said.

She was so angry with his behavior during her visit she walked out.

"I left my driver's license and he had to come back and get it."

"She was so upset she was crying," said her friend Jerry Caudill.

"When you have doctors doing this, they are the ones who are actually putting narcotics on the streets that are getting into the hands of the addicts. And making the issues worst in the opioid epidemic we are faced with," said Sgt. Moritz.

Hodge faces felony aggravated drug trafficking and investigators say could face more charges after a Highland County grand jury looks at the evidence.

Hodge completed his residency at The Grove City Health Center in 2013 -- He had resigned from Holzer Medical just last year for alleged narcotics abuse, attended rehab, before being hired by HealthSource of Ohio In Hillsboro last winter.

Hodge was arraigned in Hillsboro Municipal Court where bond was set at $50,000. A preliminary hearing has been set for 9:30 a.m.  on July 14.

Highland County Sheriff Donnie Barrera said Hodge bonded out of jail Wednesday afternoon.

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