CAST

Peter Allen is an immigration and family attorney, who started practicing law with his father Max more than thirty years ago in a small office in the Boston area. Peter earned a Doctor of Jurisprudence from Boston College Law School.

Attorney

Scott and Marie Berry came to Dr. Kishore’s aid during a critical time in his ordeal with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Massachusetts Residents

Feler Bose is associate professor of economics and finance at Indiana University East. He received his Ph.D.  His research interests include applied microeconomics, political economy, law and economics, and economics of religion.

Professor of Economics
Indiana University East

Chief Michael E. Botieri began his career as a Plymouth Police Officer in May of 1985. He graduated from the First Municipal Police Officers Class at the Plymouth Police Academy in December of 1985 and became a Captain in 1996

Plymouth Chief of Police

Dr. William Burke was a preventive medicine physician in West Roxbury, MA, for many years.  He received his medical degree from the University of Vermont and completed his internal medicine residency at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine. 

Preventive Medicine Physician

Dana Casher is the president of Casher Law Offices in the Boston area. She has had the privilege of focusing her work on those areas of law that she most enjoys.She received her Juris Doctor of Law degree from Suffolk University Law School.

Attorney

Holly Cekala is a tireless advocate who has overseen the opening of two recovery centers in New Hampshire.

Certified Recovery Coach Trainer

Ashley Clark worked with hundreds of addicts at one of Dr. Kishore’s clinics near Boston, but the heroin epidemic became painfully real to her and her family when she lost her older brother to an overdose.

Former Employee

The Reverend Steven Louis Craft holds a Master of Divinity Degree from Harvard Divinity School and a Bachelor of Arts in Bible and Pastoral Counseling from Central Bible College in Springfield, Missouri. 

Prison Chaplain

Melissa Crews has been in long term recovery since 1993. She is a recovery advocate who actually understands what long term recovery means and what it takes to get and stay there.

Hope for New Hampshire Recovery

Theodore Dalrymple is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and a contributing editor of City Journal. He is a retired physician who, most recently, practiced in a British inner-city hospital and prison. 

Author/Journalist

Romancing Opiates

Senator Vinny deMacedo is serving his second term in the Massachusetts State Senate. He had no prior political experience when he ran against the Democratic incumbent Joseph Gallitano.

Massachusetts State Senate

Dr. Bob Di Lorenzo is an emergency medicine doctor in Raleigh, North Carolina, and is affiliated with Rex Hospital. He received his medical degree from University of Illinois College of Medicine and has been in practice for more than 20 years.

ER Doctor

Kent Dunnington, associate professor of philosophy at Biola University in La Mirada, California. He teaches and writes in the areas of virtue ethics and theological ethics. Other research interests include addiction and criminal justice, inspired by his experiences teaching in prison.

Professor, Biola University
Author, Addiction and Virtue

Ritchie Farrell was a heroin addict growing up in Lowell, Massachusetts. Ritchie is an author, filmmaker, WGA screenwriter, and motivational speaker. His rise from the heroin filled streets of Lowell to the top can only be described as miraculous, heroic, and remarkable.

Author, Screenwriter and
Motivational Speaker

Dr. Samuel Byron Hogan, Sr., is Bishop of the Massachusetts First Jurisdiction of the Church of God in Christ. He has been a pastor, counselor and teacher for over 40 years, and has taught preaching at Gordon-Conwell Seminary for more than 25 years.

Harvard Divinity School

Kerri Hume has worked in the healthcare field for many years. Her first-hand eyewitness experience working at the clinic and seeing the power of the sobriety-based Massachusetts Model makes her contribution to this film project invaluable.

Former Office Manager at

Dr. Kishore's Weymouth clinic

Harold Jacobi, III, has been providing legal advice and services to individuals, corporations and nonprofits in the area of business, employment, real estate, litigation and family law since 1970.

Attorney

Dr. Paul Jehle is the executive director of the Plymouth Rock Foundation. He has been studying America's Christian heritage since 1975, and has been a member of several historic organizations.

Plymouth Rock Foundation

Carla Jones is a professional licensed counselor in addiction and substance use disorders based out of Taunton, Massachusetts. Carla was directly involved with Dr. Kishore’s family support group, Mother Power.

Addiction Counselor

Scott Lively is an author, attorney, and Massachusetts gubernatorial candidate. He is the president of Abiding Truth Ministries. He ran as a Republican candidate for governor of Massachusetts in the 2018 election.

Author, attorney, Massachusetts gubernatorial candidate

David C. Lewis is Professor Emeritus of Behavioral and Social Sciences, a professor of Medicine and Community Health and the Donald G. Millar Distinguished Professor of Alcohol and Addiction Studies at Brown University.

Professor Emeritus of Medicine

Brown University

Dr. Anna Lembke received her undergraduate degree in Humanities from Yale University and her medical degree from Stanford University. She is the author of “Drug Dealer, MD: How Doctors Were Duped, Patients Got Hooked, and Why It’s So Hard to Stop.”

Professor, Stanford University

Author, Drug Dealer MD

William (Bill) Lockwood, Jr. is the founder and president of ComputerTalk Associates, publishers of ComputerTalk for the Pharmacist, a bimonthly publication on computer technology.

American Society for

Automation in Pharmacy

Having seen the destructive power of heroin addiction in his own family, Tony decided to provide moral support to Kishore during his court trials and witnessed how the Massachusetts Attorney General’s office systematically destroyed a man’s livelihood and reputation.

Massachusetts Resident

Robin Mayfield is an Internist and Pediatrician, and the principal of Beacon Primary Medicine, a primary care private practice in Brookline, Massachusetts, where she provides primary care for children and adults.

Internist & Pediatrician

Dr. McAuliffe is Associate Professor of Medical Sociology in the Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School at Cambridge Health Alliance and the North Charles Foundation. 

One of his studies of heroin addiction was awarded the Socio-Psychological Prize of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Harvard Medical School

A former military police officer who is now a defense attorney, James “Jay” McMahon is one of two Republicans seeking the party’s nomination to take on Massachusetts Attorney General, Maura Healey, a Democrat, in the 2018 election.

Defence Attorney

Judy earned her B.S.N. degree from the University of Missouri – Columbia School of Nursing, and a B.A. in Education from India where she taught school. She and her husband Percy came to the United States to seek help for their severely handicapped child.

Nursing Director, Assisted Recovery
Centers of America

Paul Rae is president of SRN Marketing and Communications. 

Paul found out about Kishore’s tribulations and decided to start a blog to chronicle the addiction specialist’s ordeal.

Blogger

John Stuckey is president and executive director of the ARCHway Institute, a non-profit organization created to educate the public with respect to mental health and addictive disorders as well as to assist those suffering from same.

President, ARCHway Institute

Dr. Joseph Volpicelli graduated from the University of Pennsylvania Medical School in 1981 and completed his residency there in 1985. Since then he has spent the last twenty-five years as a pioneer in clinical research, education, and practice.

The Volpicelli Center

Percy Menzies is the president of Assisted Recovery Centers of America, LLC, a center for the treatment of alcoholism and drug addiction based in St. Louis, Missouri which was established in 2001.

President, Assisted Recovery
Centers of America

John C. Nachtwey has served the real estate industry since 1978 and is currently vice president of CRG Commercial Real Estate.  JC helped find commercial space for Dr. Kishore’s first practice in Brookline, Massachusetts, and assisted him in the practice’s exponential growth to a total 52 clinics and other spaces.

Dr. Kishore's Realtor

Sam Quinones has been a journalist, former LA Times reporter, author and storyteller for almost 30 years. He lived and worked as a freelance writer in Mexico from 1994 to 2004.

Journalist/Author
Dreamland

Joaquin Rodriguez helped establish and manage Dr. Kishore’s clinics in the Western Massachusetts cities of Springfield and Holyoke, between 2001 and 2011. He witnessed first-hand the devastating effect the sudden closing of Dr. Kishore’s clinics had on many patients in the area.

Addiction Counselor

Martin G. Selbrede is the Vice-President of the Chalcedon Foundation and senior researcher for the organization’s ongoing work of Christian scholarship. 

Editor, Faith for All of Life

Harold Shurtleff is the co-founder of Camp Constitution, an all-volunteer association first formed in 2009 in Massachusetts. The camp offers classes and workshops on a number of subjects including U.S. history, the U.S. Constitution, current events, and how to be a freedom activist.

Camp Constitution

Maia Szalavitz is a reporter and author who focuses on science, public policy and addiction treatment. Her newest book is “Unbroken Brain: A Revolutionary New Way of Understanding Addiction,” which combines her personal story with a distillation of more than 25 years of science and research.

Reporter and Author
Unbroken Brain

Luz Thomas worked with people suffering from drug addiction at Sisters of Providence Hospital in Holyoke, Massachusetts, and was director of Providence Detox. Luz worked directly with Dr. Kishore helping countless addicts.

Registered Nurse

Steven A. Tolman is an American labor union leader who is the current President of the Massachusetts AFL–CIO. He is a former state legislator who served in the Massachusetts Senate representing the 2nd Suffolk and Middlesex district for 12 years  and the Massachusetts House of Representatives for four years.

President,
Massachusetts AFL–CIO

Jeanette Wheeler first met Dr. Kishore at a home school show in Rockland, ME, in March of 2016, and was immediately interested in his important work in the field of substance abuse, having had a tragedy in her own family—her sister lost her only child to doctor-prescribed drugs, and eventually a drug overdose.

Maine Resident

Stephen Wright is a public health advocate with the Access, Harm Reduction, Overdose Prevention and Education (AHOPE), a Boston Public Health Commission harm reduction and needle exchange program providing a range of service to active injection drug users.

Boston Public
Health Commission

Special interviews with recovering addicts

We were blessed to capture the powerful and heart-wrenching testimonies of several recovering addicts, including four former patients at one of Dr. Kishore’s clinics in Waymouth, MA, and four who were treated by Percy Menzies at ARCA in St. Louis, MO. The raw honesty with which they shared their struggles with addiction, as well as their invaluable insights into the different treatment methods currently available to heroin addicts, are juxtaposed with Kishore’s and Menzies’ more humane, common-sense, low-tech, and comprehensive methods. These interviews add value to the film like no other expert witness could.

Punyamurtula S. Kishore, MD

In the Winter of 1977, a young man travelled from New Delhi, India, to Boston, Massachusetts, with little more than a medical degree and a desire to help his fellow man. Young Dr. Punyamurtula Kishore was inspired to carry on his family’s legacy in the medical profession. He had also been deeply impacted by a classic of Hindi cinema he watched as a boy about a jail warden who rehabilitates six outcasts into productive men of virtue, a theme that would eventually mimic Kishore’s own life story and calling. 


Through a series of extraordinary events, including a random act of kindness by a stranger the day he arrived at Logan International, Dr. Kishore was employed at—and later became the Medical Director of—the Washingtonian Center for Addictions, the first organization in the U.S. to recognize addiction as a disease. This experience changed his entire medical career plan and drew him into the field of addiction medicine.


Over the next decade, Dr. Kishore worked in most of the major addiction programs in Massachusetts. He had experience in every phase of treatment—whether inpatient, outpatient, or residential and a variety of philosophies from sobriety based to maintenance or twelve step to therapeutic community based. Then in 1990, while the Associate Medical Director for the Department of Corrections at Bridgewater State Hospital, Dr. Kishore founded "Home Free," an innovative award-winning pilot home detoxification program. 


In 1996, he opened the first office of Preventive Medicine Associates, Inc. (PMAI), a private medical practice focused on addiction medicine. It was a quaint one-room office in Brighton, Massachusetts, built around a model of primary care. As the practice grew it became apparent that additional sites were necessary to provide easier access for patients traveling long distances to reach the office. Request came from community members, physicians, or the political structure of various communities requesting additional sites be developed in their community.


The practice became a statewide network of sites offering a full spectrum of services, available to all patients at all sites. In addition, by providing access to sober housing in all areas of the Commonwealth, the network enhanced the continuity of care. Each practice location consists of a multidisciplinary team, which typically includes a mix of physicians, psychiatrists, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, counselors, office managers and medical assistants. From this experience he developed a model of care which he called the Massachusetts Model of Addiction Recovery. Dr. Kishore’s model depends on a multidisciplinary team of professionals, including, nurse practitioners, physicians, physician assistants, psychologists, nurses, and peer group counselors, who plan and assist in the treatment process. The physician or nurse practitioner would meet individually with the patient to conduct an interview, review the client's test results, and plan medical goals and objectives, and operated on the assumption that abstinence is the ideal means and sobriety the optimal result. The treatment provided tools and a context for the client to learn new ways of living without alcohol and other drugs, and could be employed on an outpatient basis.


At its peak in 2011, PMAI had a nearly $10 million per year payroll, and served thousands of new patients each month. But billions of dollars are at stake for the government and corporate drug war establishment, so the state devoured a non-combatant like Dr. Kishore who threatened their entrenched system.


The war on drugs has been a cash cow since it was started by President Richard Nixon in 1971. Since then, governments at every level have thrown ever larger sums of money at the problem, with dismal results. Additionally, a vast network of private companies feed off of the government bureaucracy, providing counseling, substitute drugs, sober houses, medical treatment, detox, and more. Failure in the drug war, as measured by increased drug dependency, has become a roaring success for government, keeping a lot of people employed.


The attorney general of Massachusetts, Martha Coakley, started a highly visible crusade against Medicaid fraud in 2007, which continued for years. She found that some commercial drug testing labs had bribed the owners of so-called “sober-houses”—where recovering addicts stay to learn to live a sober life—in order to get the houses' drug testing business, most of which was then illegally billed to Medicaid. Once caught, several of these labs paid huge fines to the state, and were driven into hands of well-connected acquisition companies.  


In Dr. Kishore's medical practice, by contrast, he or his associates examined his patients, diagnosed them, and made therapeutic drug testing part of the treatment plan. That is a legally reimbursable expense under medicaid, whereas non-prescribed stand-alone tests are not. Despite the fact that he did intakes with every patient, the government lumped him in with the obvious scammers who just did forensic drug testing as a requirement for housing, and brought the aforementioned criminal indictments against him.


Starting in 2007, Attorney General Martha Coakley and drug czar Botticelli waged a war on Dr. Kishore's medical practice, culminating in two sets of indictments brought in 2011 and 2013. Despite a five year-long colonoscopy of Dr. Kishore and PMAI, the attorney general could not turn up one smoking gun that proved a criminal act. It wasn't for lack of trying. So, the indictments had to be based on an implication that he must be engaging in some kind of secret “scheme,” even though the attorney general admitted that all of his records showed that he did everything by the book.


First up was the attorney general's crack medicaid fraud division, which she sent in to audit PMAI in January of 2007. They worked the books over for thirteen months, but could not find anything to provoke a reprimand letter.


In May of 2009, Paul Cirel, the type of lawyer that some would call a “fixer,” delivered AG Coakley's first ultimatum to the doctor. Her message: Give up your drug testing labs to a  competitor, Willow Labs, or you'll be in trouble. And, while you are at it, you have to give up your medical license, too. Dr. Kishore politely declined the AG's offer, and canned the lawyer.  


Next up was an Attorney General-run “sting” in December of 2009, that resembled a movie plot. It arose out of Dr. Kishore's expansion of his practice into “sober houses,” where recovering addicts live, so he could bring medical services to the people who needed his help the most. Dr. Kishore negotiated lease agreements with over twenty of these sober houses around Massachusetts to place PMAI medical practices in them.


There was one sober house owner whom Dr. Kishore had never called on, however: David Perry. He owned a place called Recovery Education Services (RES) in Boston, which was sketchy at best. Perry, a former addict, cocaine dealer, and a disbarred lawyer, had a dreadful reputation from his days as co-owner,with his friend David Fromm, of a now defunct sober house operation called Safe Haven. It was anything but safe, or sober. It had been the site of several overdose deaths and was ultimately shut down by the city of Boston for numerous code violations. Constant drug use by the residents, disturbing the peace, trading of sexual favors, and overcrowding brought an end to it in 2008.


After Safe Haven was shut down, Mr. Perry immediately started RES, his new sober house business, while his buddy Fromm put together a commercial drug testing lab called Precision Laboratories. Perry had Fromm/Precision Labs drug test each of his sober house residents three times a week, and primarily billed Medicaid for the test costs. This was illegal under medicaid rules, but he was a friend of the attorney general, and so he got a pass.


In December of 2009, Perry went to attorney General Coakley to discuss taking down Dr. Kishore. He had already helped expose another commercial drug lab for taking bribes, using a staged entrapment ploy, at the behest of AG Coakley. His zeal to be part of this operation may have been to help his friend and partner Fromm to eliminate competition for his Precision Labs. However, Dr. Kishore did not run his business in an illegal manner, but did all of the testing of his patients as part of a medical treatment plan, as the law requires.


The attorney general's office point man for the Kishore sting operation was her right arm and senior investigator named Brian Robinson. The plan started with David Perry contacting Dr. Kishore and asking the doctor to come to Perry's sober house in Boston and talk about setting up a PMAI clinic there, and to make arrangements to drug test his residents. It was all a setup; He had no intention of actually coming to an agreement. He hoped that during the meeting, Dr. Kishore would offer a bribe or a quid pro quo in order to be allowed to get the drug testing business, and thus subject himself to criminal charges.


Right before they were to meet, investigator Robinson put some of his people into Perry's sober house office as dummy employees, who could listen to their conversation during the meeting, and he set up a listening post for himself as well. At the appointed time, Dr. Kishore arrived with several of his top executives, not suspecting that he was walking into a potential trap. The principals met and spoke, but the attorney general did not get what she wanted, because Dr. Kishore did not offer any gratuity. Dr. Kishore did not even find out that he had been played this way until nearly two years later.


The scrutiny intensified in 2010. An inspector from the U.S. Office of the Inspector General came in September of 2010, and spent two weeks going over PMAI with a magnifying glass, but initiated no actions. When that didn't work, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration followed with an investigation two months later, hoping to catch the doctor in some improper prescription of controlled substances. But, since he did not prescribe DEA regulated narcotics to his patients, that investigation turned up nothing. Following two months after that was the Massachusetts Dept. of Revenue, and you can imagine what they were looking for, but they, too, found essentially nothing.  
 

At this point, Dr. Kishore realized that he was a target, and hired another very connected lawyer, one Frank Libby, in hopes that he could reduce the government pressure. However, the Attorney General had tea with Attorney Libby in January of 2011, after which he met Dr. Kishore and  delivered another AG offer: Take a pre-indictment “guilty” plea (before he was charged with anything) and appoint Libby's law firm as a $1.2 million a year compliance monitor to oversee his PMAI medical practice for five years. Generous terms, those, but the doctor demurred, and fired him also.
 

A third, even more connected lawyer, a former United States District Attorney, Donald Stern, was the Attorney General's chosen vessel for another ultimatum just two months later, on March 17, 2011. After having lunch with Madame Coakley, Mr. Stern told Dr. Kishore that she would let him off easy if he gave up his drug testing laboratory business to one of her cronies, David Fromm's Precision Labs, and then serve as its “prescription mill” so it could go legit on its medicaid submissions. Plus, he would have to agree to be monitored by Stern's firm, just like in the other “offer.” Dr. Kishore again decided not to pay to play; but there is almost always a price to pay when you refuse an “offer you can't refuse.”
 

Two weeks later, on March 29, 2011, the owner of that drug testing company, Precision Labs, with complicity of the Attorney General, sued Dr. Kishore civilly for unfair competition, and got an attachment on all of his business bank accounts and property. That was the beginning of the end.
 

All the while the lawyers were delivering ultimatums, the agencies were investigating, and the AG was running the sting with Mr. Perry, a grand jury was also meeting, starting in June of 2009. It meandered for over two years, before delivering thirty-two indictments against Kishore and his company PMAI on September 21, 2011. Due to a strange quirk in Massachusetts criminal procedure, a criminal complaint was issued against Dr. Kishore a week before that date, and he was arrested one day earlier, the night of September 20, 2011.
 

The arrest was an over-the-top spectacle orchestrated by AG Coakley for maximum TV and media coverage. If it bleeds, it leads, as the old TV saying goes. To arrest one unarmed middle aged doctor, they sent fifteen police cars, thirty three state police vehicles, attack dogs, and even a helicopter on the night of September 20, 2011. Good thing an actual crime was not happening anywhere, because all the police firepower was at Dr. Kishore's house.


The next morning, the attorney general had Dr. Kishore do the “perp walk” in front of the cameras on the way into court for every TV network, displaying her “trophy.” The show continued at the courthouse for Dr. Kishore's arraignment, and the story appeared on every news outlet that evening.  
Depending on where you sit, the case against Doctor Kishore and his company PMA looks like a trumped-up political witch hunt... Or, a heroic operation by the government which uncovered illegal Medicaid reimbursements made to the doctor which were obtained by bribing sober-house owners to give him exclusive drug testing business. It gets all bogged down in arguments over the meaning of words in a poorly written law, and in whether federal or state law applies.

 

Dr. Kishore tried to run a clean house. He had systems in place to ensure that every patient was seen, diagnosed and given a treatment plan. He used standard lease arrangements to rent the spaces in the sober houses, and checks showing monthly rent paid for space in each place. The Attorney General acknowledged these facts, but called these rentals at sober houses a “scheme” on paper. But this was a “scheme” in which the Doctor did it all legally and openly. It is a common business practice to do “co-location,” renting space in another premises, to save the cost of a full facility. Subway sandwich shops does that in convenience stores, as do all concessions in airports.
 

When the attorney general tested her hypothesis that Dr. Kishore was crooked and taking bribes in 2009, using David Perry in the sober house sting describe above, it turned up no hint  of a bribe. In another instance, a sober home operator was hinting at getting some financial reward beyond rental of his facility for the placement of a PMAI practice, and one of Dr. Kishore's managers sharply retorted that, “PMA did not buy contracts,” according to a statement by the attorney general to the court.
 

Two years later, the grand jury issued another forty-four indictments against Dr. Kishore and the now-defunct PMAI on November 21, 2013. This second set were issued because, if Dr. Kishore had bribed sober houses to get business years ago, then any medicaid reimbursements obtained from them were illegal per se, regardless of whether they were medically necessary. The attorney general admitted that there was no “fake” medically unnecessary testing at issue.
 

Some things don't add up: Although Dr. Kishore was accused of bribing sober house owners, the director of the largest one, Laurence Schneider, of North Cottage Program, Inc., was not indicted for taking those same alleged bribes. The Attorney General took all of Dr. Kishore's personal emails without permission or a warrant, including hundreds of emails to his defense lawyers. The Supreme Judicial Court issued a slap on the wrist after much wrangling about this serious breach of constitutional rights and legal ethics.
 

Meanwhile, with Dr. Kishore's business out of the marketplace, drug addiction in the state soared, provoking alarm in all quarters, including, ironically, at the attorney general's office. It organized all kinds of programs, task forces, and other expensive but meaningless responses to the crisis, which will not help the addicts one bit since Kishore's sobriety-maintenance program was forcibly shut down in September of 2011. Opioid-related deaths in Massachusetts totaled 1379 in 2012, and they spiked to over two thousand deaths in 2013, an increase of about 45%. 
 

Dr. Kishore was at first determined to fight to prove his innocence, but the prosecution piled on 80 charges. Losing on a single one would have meant 5 years in prison and deportation. After spending nearly $2 million on lawyers, he was destitute and relying on friends to pay for gasoline. The court was forcing his lawyers to work without compensation, but he had good reason to think their representation was inadequate. They called no expert witnesses and failed to subpoena prosecution witnesses for cross-examination. The government turned up the pressure on his family, as by auditing his wife’s very simple medical practice. Ultimately, he pled guilty to a single charge of larceny of more than $250. Such plea bargains require the defendant to “agree” to the government’s statement of the “facts,” and to give up the right to appeal. He spent 8 months in prison and faces 10 years probation. 
 

The prosecution portrayed him in the press as a demon. The $4.9 million his practice collected annually from Medicaid was allegedly victimizing the state’s “most vulnerable” patients, even though his success rate was at least 750% higher than the state’s big-name programs. The state has deprived Dr. Kishore of the right to defend himself, but the last chapter is not yet written.
 

This film will attempt to tell the whole story.

SOURCES: "The War on Drugs Devours a Non-Combatant," by Greg Hession, and "Drugged America," by Jane Orient.

 

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