The state of Vermont has revoked the license of a popular South Burlington dentist and senior member of the state board of dental examiners because of improper dispensing of prescriptions and his own hospitalization for a drug overdose that included cocaine and opiates.

Dr. Randall “Randy” Miller, initially licensed in July 1984, agreed not to contest the state disciplinary action proposed by the Vermont Office of Professional Regulation, according to newly released records.

Miller and his lawyer signed a stipulation and consent order rather than fight four unprofessional conduct charges filed by the state, records show.

The state revocation happened only after the other 10 members of the Vermont Board of Dental Examiners were temporarily removed from considering Miller’s case. An ad hoc board was specially appointed by Vermont Secretary of State Jim Condos to hear the Miller complaint on Nov. 15.

Condos, a former South Burlington city councilor and state senator, said it is a rarity to have to replace a full state board due to an actual or perceived conflicts of interest and to name a temporary replacement panel. Condos, whose office helps oversee 50 licensed professions in Vermont involving about 80,000 people, said he could not recall the last time a full board had to be replaced.

Friends, colleagues and others familiar with Miller said things crashed and burned for the dentist during the summer.

Miller overdosed at a neighbor’s home on Swift Street July 3 and was revived with Narcan, state and city records show. He was taken to the University of Vermont Medical Center where, besides the cocaine and opiates, Miller tested positive for benzodiazepine, marijuana and alcohol, records show.

He remained hospitalized until July 6.

Miller’s overdose came as two other people — including his oldest son — died from fentanyl overdoses at the same neighborhood house on Swift Street in about a 24-hour period, records show.

His son, Brian A. Miller, 29, a well-known musician, was found dead on June 29 after he had gone to the house just west of Spear Street to offer condolences to the family of Ellen K. Erdmann, 62, who had died unexpectedly the day before.

The death certificates show Erdmann died June 28 from acute fentanyl intoxication, while Brian Miller succumbed on June 29 to an acute intoxication mix of fentanyl and alcohol. The three-story house is directly around the corner from the home of Dr. Miller and his son on Spear Street.

South Burlington Police said this month those two deaths remain under active investigation. Both the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Chittenden County State’s Attorney’s Office are being updated, police said.

Both deaths were ruled accidents by the office of Vermont’s chief medical examiner.

Miller, through his lawyer, Shireen T. Hart of Burlington offered the following comment.

“I am heartbroken and deeply sorry for what has happened. It has been the honor of my life to serve the community I love and the patients I care so much about. These past months, including the loss of my son, have been the hardest of my life. With professional, family and faith-based help, I will make it a priority to focus on my family, on healing and once again giving back,” the email said.

Dr. Miller is also a talented musician and sometimes played gigs with his son, including at the annual Christmas Party for disadvantaged children sponsored by the late Burlington businessman Tony Pomerleau.

Miller also was well-known for his joke-telling, especially to patients in his Colchester Avenue office, diagonally across from the medical center.

He often was a guest for the “Joke of the Week” segment on the former Corm and the Coach morning radio show featuring Steve Cormier and then-UVM basketball coach Tom Brennan.

The investigation

The Office of Professional Regulation received a complaint July 8 about Miller — two days after the dentist was discharged from the hospital for his overdose, the state said.

The state board of dental examiners has jurisdiction to investigate and resolve allegations of unprofessional conduct committed by dentists, dental hygienists and dental assistants.

During two interviews with investigators in July, Miller suggested that “they could assign him as the board member to his own complaint(s) and he would just close it and make it go away,” St. James wrote.

Miller in his signed stipulation “submits that any such comments were made flippantly.”

Co-workers did report they often saw white powder on surfaces in Miller’s office and on him while at work, state prosecutor Elizabeth A. St. James wrote in her charges.

Miller admitted to ingesting a white powdery substance on July 3 but thought it was methylphenidate, also known as Ritalin, records show. He said he has been prescribed the drug for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder for about 20 years.

He also admitted to sometimes crushing and snorting the Ritalin because it gets into his system faster, the stipulation said. It noted some ingestion happened at work.

Miller also said he has been prescribed hydrocodone-acetaminophen for shoulder and hip pain for about 25 years, records show.

He denied having consumed any substances that he was not prescribed when he was working, the stipulation said.

More problems

The Miller investigation uncovered other problems.

Miller had never signed up for the Vermont prescription monitoring system, which is a state program that would authorize him to write prescriptions, the charges note. Miller still provided repeat prescriptions for controlled substances for the same few patients from July 2017 to July 2021, records show.

Repeat prescriptions by Dr. Miller for the same few patients “almost never had a corresponding note in those patients’ dental records that would support the need for a controlled substance prescription,” the stipulation noted.

One of those getting prescriptions was a now former hygienist identified in the charges only by her initials. Miller wrote more than 10 prescriptions for Tramadol between 2015 and early 2017. Miller also wrote her about 10 prescriptions for hydrocodone-acetaminophen between 2015 and early 2019.

The stipulation also noted that Miller wrote “prescriptions for controlled substances for back, neck, shoulder, and/or arm pain, none of which were related to dental care or issues.”

St. James filed four unprofessional charges on behalf of the state: failure to practice competently, which includes the performance of unsafe or unacceptable patient or client care; promotion of the sale of drugs or services for a patient in a manner to exploit the patient, including providing drugs for other than legal and legitimate therapeutic purposes; failure to comply with federal and state laws or rules governing the profession; and failure to exercise independent professional judgment in order to avoid actions that are “repugnant to the obligations of the profession.”

The temporary nine-member ad hoc panel appointed by Condos consisted of Drs. Zaher Jabbour, Roni Golden, John Steinman, Charles Ullman, John Echternach; registered dental hygienists Kaitlin Cornell, Audrey Champagne and Jenina Beach-Ward; and public member Deb Belcher.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexual language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be proactive. Use the "Report" link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.