Thomas C. Tilot, 69, of McHenry.

A McHenry doctor will avoid prison after he pleaded guilty to overprescribing opioids to patients in McHenry County. Prosecutors called the case the first of its kind.

Thomas C. Tilot, 69, of the 6600 block of Burning Tree Circle in McHenry, was charged with 25 counts of unlawful delivering of a controlled substance as Class 2 and 3 felonies.

Tilot worked as a doctor out of an office in the 5400 block of Bull Valley Road in McHenry, court records show.

In 2018, the McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Office began collaborating with the Drug Enforcement Agency to review the prescribing practices of doctors in McHenry County.

Tilot was identified as a peak prescriber, prosecutors said.

Authorities conducted an investigation into specific patients and investigators concluded that some of Tilot’s prescribing practices were “indefensible” and “went far beyond any acceptable medical standards.”

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McHenry County State’s Attorney Patrick Kenneally said that Tilot was not dispensing drugs to patients with bogus symptoms for money, but rather the case was “just bad doctoring.”

“This wasn’t a case of greed in that Dr. Tilot was dispensing drugs to patients with bogus symptoms for the money. Rather, this was just bad doctoring and an overreliance on prescribing opioids to the point where he was endangering the lives of his patients and making them sicker,” Kenneally said.

The state’s attorney’s office reached a plea deal with Tilot on Wednesday where he pleaded guilty to four amended counts of unlawful dispensing of a controlled substance, a Class A misdemeanor.

In exchange, prosecutors dismissed Tilot’s 25 felony charges, court records show.

As part of the plea deal, Tilot will have to pay approximately $2,700 in court fines and fees.

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Kenneally said his office allowed Tilot to plead guilty to the misdemeanor charges because he voluntarily relinquished his medical license and has no prior criminal history.

“This is a first-of-its-kind, historic prosecution of a doctor for overprescribing opioids to unsuspecting patients who he got hooked,” Kenneally said. 

“The opioid epidemic, despite falling out of the top story on the nightly news, is only getting worse,” Kenneally said.

“In 2021, over 100,000 Americans died of a drug overdose – the most ever. That’s more people than the entire populations of Crystal Lake, Woodstock, and McHenry City combined. While there are multiple engines driving the epidemic, over-prescription of opioids by physicians continues to be one of the primary causes,” he added.

The state’s attorney’s office said that local practitioners should be aware their office will continue to monitor prescribing practices for any discrepancies and “use all means at our disposal to redress them.”

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Robert Bell, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration Chicago Division, said that medical professionals who violate their oaths to “do no harm” must be held accountable.

“The DEA will continue working to keep Illinois families safe from medical professionals who illegally divert opioid painkillers from legitimate medical supplies,” Bell said.