On the morning of May 7, several days after federal prosecutors described him as a violent, drug-pushing “sexual predator” and a “danger to the community,” Tennessee nurse practitioner Jeff Young posted a message on Facebook.
“To clear up any confusion .....” he wrote, attaching image that read, “Yes, we’re open!” The post included a link to the page for his Jackson clinic, GeneXis Health.
In light of his current legal circumstances, it read like a defiant taunt. Young is a brash, tattooed 45-year-old who calls himself the “Rock Doc” and recently tried to launch a reality show centered on his practice.
Clips from the failed show still live online. They feature Young prowling around his clinic to a hard rock soundtrack, with ink in full view and rings on several of his fingers. In the pilot episode, his nurses refer to him as “Uncle Jeff” and patients speaking glowingly about him. At one point, he and a friend discuss his haters as Young—in a sleeveless shirt, sunglasses and hat cocked to the side—flashes a middle finger at the camera.
The cover photo on Young’s Facebook page features a quote attributed to Motley Crue’s Nikki Sixx: “One day your life will flash before your eyes—make sure it’s worth watching.” Young was confident his life would make a good reality show. And it turns out federal authorities thought he was worth watching, too.
He was among dozens of doctors, nurses and pharmacists caught last month in a federal opioid strike force dragnet. Prosecutors accused him of using “his power to prescribe controlled substances to promote his television pilot and his podcast, and to have sex with women, including women who were his patients.”
Now they’re so troubled by the fact that Young is back in the community, and back in business, that they’ve gone to court seeking to have him put back in jail pending trial.
A new court filing, first reported by The Tennessean last week, portrays the Rock Doc as a menacing figure at the intersection of the opioid crisis and the #MeToo movement. The feds say Young “regularly and cavalierly traded prescriptions for sex—sometimes even showing his employees cellphone photos of himself engaging in sex acts at his Preventagenix clinic immediately after the fact.” They also say they obtained a video from Young’s cellphone that shows him “having sex with a nearly unconscious woman.”
Young has pleaded not guilty to all of the charges against him—and will fight the feds’ attempt to lock him up at a detention hearing Monday. His attorney told The Daily Beast that Young is not a danger to the community and is seeing patients who are “very happy to be treated by him.”
Young was one of 60 medical professionals in six states—including 32 in Tennessee, where rural areas have been hard hit by the opioid crisis—who were indicted in April as part of the federal investigation.
The Rock Doc, whose clinic and home were raided by Drug Enforcement Administration agents in 2017, mostly stands out from the bunch, though. (Still, his case isn’t entirely unique. An Alabama doctor also indicted as part of the crackdown allegedly “recruited prostitutes and other young women with whom he had sexual relationships to become patients at his clinic, while simultaneously allowing them and their associates to abuse illicit drugs at his house,” according to a Department of Justice release.)
Aside from charges of using access to drugs to extract sex from patients, the indictment alleged that “Young treated patients while intoxicated on alcohol, marijuana or other controlled substances, freely prescribed controlled substances to his friends and family, and promoted the use of illicit drugs, including marijuana.”
Additionally, prosecutors say he prescribed hydrocodone, oxycodone and alprazolam to a pregnant woman “for no legitimate medical purpose” and that the woman’s baby was born “addicted to opioids with Fetal Abstinence Syndrome.” Over a three-year period, Young allegedly prescribed approximately 1.4 million opioid and benzodiazepine pills and 1,500 fentanyl patches, according to the DOJ.
Following the indictments, a judge released all 60 indicted medical professionals on bond. Young went right back to work. That prompted the feds to file a motion asking that Young’s bond be revoked. The new papers outlined prosecutors’ arguments as to why he allegedly poses a threat to the community where he’s worked in medicine for more than 20 years.
A call to his clinic on Friday was returned by one of his nurses, who said The Daily Beast should look into the stories of the other medical professionals charged in the takedown.
“It’s not just him,” said the nurse, who declined to give her name.
But prosecutors have described Young as a standout among the dozens of charged medical professionals.
“Most of these defendants had no prior encounters with law enforcement; their danger to the community was arguably tempered by the magistrate judge’s prescribed conditions, which tended to include restricting the defendants’ ability to prescribe and dispense the opioids and other addictive drugs that the defendants were charged with illegally dispensing,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew Pennebraker wrote in the recent filing.
“If some of the defendants’ danger to the community was mitigated by those conditions, Jeff Young’s was not,” he continued. “Even among other defendants presumed to be dangerous, Young stands out: he has a demonstrated history of violence against women, intimidation and threats, and disregard of judicial and administrative orders.”
GeneXis Health, one of two clinics Young has owned in the Jackson area, largely offers cosmetic services now. His Facebook page is a stream of promotions for services like lip injections and vampire facials, a process also known as platelet rich plasma (PRP) in which plasma is extracted from a patient’s own blood which is then re-injected into their face.
He is no longer allowed to prescribe opioids under the terms of a 2018 settlement with the Tennessee Board of Nursing—which investigated him for overprescribing—but he can still prescribe other addictive drugs like benzodiazepines. Prosecutors say that in the weeks since the April 18 indictment he’s continued to provide those drugs to patients who have been “doctor shopping” and receiving opioids from other doctors.
Young’s continued ability to prescribe powerful drugs like Xanax is the basis of prosecutors’ harsh criticism of the Tennessee Board of Nursing’s settlement with him. In arguing for him to be released on bond, Young and his attorney cited the settlement—which restricted Young, but allowed him to keep his license and continue to practice—as sufficient reason for the court to feel comfortable letting him out of jail. But prosecutors call the board’s order “inexplicable” and “woefully inadequate to address the evidence the board had before it.”
Tennessee Department of Health spokesperson Bill Christian told The Daily Beast that the department, and the Board of Nursing, “acted on admissible evidence available to them in this case.”
Christian said he can’t confirm or deny whether there are any other complaints against Young on file with the state because complaints against licensed health professionals are confidential under state law.
Young’ has his defenders. In a post on his Facebook page last week, one woman, commenting on local coverage of the allegations against him, writes: “You’re going to have to show me the proof instead of all the quotation marks. I’ve seen women throw themselves at this man. Never the other way around. This is nearly laughable if it were not so damaging to someone. I’m just going to have to see the proof.”
In the pilot for his failed reality show, posted on YouTube, Young and a close friend hole up in a makeshift studio to record rap songs that they say are inspired by accusations against him.
“A lot of the content of the lyrics comes from Jeff’s haters, the rumors that they spread about him, just the way they talk about him,” Young’s pal says. “So we decided to create songs about each of these rumors that have been put out there about Jeff.”
The prosecution filing sheds light on what some of those rumors might have been. Pennebraker writes that Young “has a long history of sexual harassment, threats, and violence, including threats to potential witnesses in this case.” Young—who put his son in the pilot—repeatedly violated a restraining order prohibiting contact with his ex-wife, according to the filing. And in 2015, the filing says, “Young posted a naked picture of his ex-wife on Craigslist and Facebook and taunted her about it.”
“Several people, including Young’s ex-wife, former co-workers, and even individuals associated with the [Board of Nursing], have reported being verbally threatened by Young,” Pennebraker wrote, adding that “still more have reported being threatened by his affiliates on his behalf.”
The filing also cites a 2016 investigation by the Jackson Police Department into a rape that allegedly occurred at Young’s home. But the department told The Daily Beast that while Young was listed as someone present at the gathering when the rape allegedly occurred, he is not considered a suspect in the ongoing investigation.
Young’s attorney, Claiborne Ferguson, told The Daily Beast that he and his client “dispute the majority of the facts contained within that document.”
“There are obviously things that he’s done through the course of his divorce... adults do stupid things in the middle of divorces that shouldn’t be used in later dates to determine whether or not they’re a danger to the community,” Ferguson said. “However, we don’t believe that he is a danger to the community. He still maintains an active practice, with active clients who are very happy and very pleased with his services and very happy to be treated by him.”
Ferguson declined to discuss specific allegations “Due to the sensitive nature of many of those issues and, obviously, my deference to the court.”
Meanwhile, on his Facebook page, Young is promoting a host of Mother’s Day specials like PRP hair restoration, stretch mark removal and the vampire breast lift.