Controversial Florence doctor facing 400 felony counts


A Florence doctor has been charged with 400 felony counts for allegedly over-prescribing controlled substances after being arrested on Thursday morning. 

Dr. Chris Arthur Christensen is being charged with two counts of negligent homicide, nine counts of criminal endangerment, and 389 counts of illegal distribution of drugs.

Authorities say a two-year investigation into thousands of files kept by Christensen uncovered hundreds of cases of illegal drug distribution, including two deaths. But Ravalli County Sheriff Chris Hoffman says the investigation is on-going as there may be more left to uncover.

"This arrest comes at the end of two years of very hard, technical investigation. We expect to continue doing our business for some time to come," he said.

But Hoffman says their office couldn't take on the investigation alone, and had help from both state and federal resources. Using a Tactical Diversion Squad (TDS), the agencies were able to share their resources and work together during the long investigation.

Special Agent Barbara Roach with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration said Thursday that these types of crimes are becoming more common throughout the country. 

"This is the first criminal prosecution's kind for the state of Montana. And it speaks volumes about the willful disregard with Dr.Christensen and the fact that he's working so much outside of what the medical practice is suppose to mean," she said.

Roach added that authorities were made aware of the situation through complaints from other doctors and pharmacists about the amount of prescriptions was writing.

Two former patients of Christensen's have been confirmed dead from prescription drug overdose with court documents stating that Christensen prescribed the drugs the patients OD'd on.

The first was 43-year-old Kara Philbrick-Lenker and the second was Gregg Griffin, 38. Documents listed 9 other patients who were once under Christensen's care, resulting in 9 charges of criminal endangerment

Christensen  is being held in the Hamilton jail on $200,000 bail, and will appear in Ravalli County District Court on Friday.

A controversial Ravalli County doctor has been arrested and is facing hundreds of charges.

Deputy Ravalli County Attorney Thorin Geist says that Dr. Chris Arthur Christensen was arrested Thursday without incident at his home in Florence.

A news release states that the Ravalli County Attorney’s Office has charged Christensen with 400 felony level offenses, including two counts of negligent homicide, related to the distribution of controlled substances in Montana.

Christensen is also facing felony criminal endangerment, felony Criminal Distribution Of Dangerous Drugs and felony Criminal Possession of Dangerous Drugs charges.

He is being held on a $200,000 bond in the Ravalli County jail and is slated to make his court appearance in Hamilton on Friday afternoon..    


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