On Thursday morning, October 18, a surfeit of Tennessee Bureau of Investigation agents conducted a search at the office of local physician, Agustin Vitualla, 71, a local family doctor that has been practicing for more than 45 years.
Susan Niland, media relations agent for the Tennessee Bureau of Invistigation (TBI), said that the bureau could only confirm the search warrant and that it was part of an active and ongoing investigation.
District Attorney Matt Stowe also confirmed the investigation into Vitualla’s office and said that while he could not discuss the particulars, he would like to be part of the solution regarding opioid usage in Benton County. “I have looked into too many eyes that were addicted to opioids in this county,” the District Attorney said on Monday. “I don’t want to have to look into another pair with that look of anguish and pain due to addiction ruining their lives.”
Stowe said there is a disproportionate effect of the opioid epidemic in the county and he wants to be part of the resolution in cleaning this “mess” up.
Stowe said he encourages anyone that has been overprescribed or knows someone being overprescribed opioids to report the doctor to his office by calling (731) 584-2427. All calls will remain anonymous. “We can combat this crisis if we work together,” he said. “My office is determined to assist the citizens of Benton County with finding sobriety and living their best lives.”
No other information about the investigation was available and calls to Vitualla’s office went unanswered.