SAN FRANCISCO—A University of California San Francisco (UCSF) surgeon and professor was arrested on suspicion of 99 felony drug crimes involving his prescription of opioid narcotics last week, but prosecutors have decided to not file charges.
UCSF Associate Professor of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery Christopher Owens, 49, was booked at the San Francisco County Jail on Thursday, November 3, on suspicion of multiple felony drug transportation and sale charges. He is being held in lieu of $1.98 million bail.
Owens works at the university-affiliated Veterans Affairs Medical Center. The arrest comes after he was placed on “investigatory leave” on June 3 and then unpaid leave in September. UCSF formally terminated Owen’s physician privileges and fired him from the faculty on October 31 following an internal medical staff investigation.
According to the San Francisco Sheriff’s Department, Owens’ charges include:
- 33 counts of possession for sale
- 34 counts of writing fraudulent prescriptions
- 32 counts of dispensing, prescribing and administering a controlled substance to an addicted person
Details regarding specific accusations were not immediately available.
“UCSF takes this incident very seriously,” read a statement from university officials. The university “urges its entire clinical staff, including physicians, nurses and other care providers, to be alert for signs of opioid misuse by any member of the clinical team and to report any such suspicions confidentially.”
The San Francisco District Attorney’s Office announced on Monday, November 7, that they would not file charges against Owens at this time, but that the matter would remain under investigation.