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Feds charge doctor with improper handling of prescription drugs

The writing of improper prescription drugs, for any purpose other than legitimate medical treatment, is a felony in New York state and under federal law. That is a rule with which a 36-year-old doctor from Amherst will surely become familiar as he faces prosecution by federal authorities on charges of the unlawful distribution of controlled substances in the form of prescription drugs and conspiracy to commit a drug felony. In fact, he faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted of the felony drug charges.

The U.S. Attorney announced the federal charges that he indicated were the result of the joint effort of several federal agencies and the Amherst Police Department. The criminal complaint alleges that the doctor wrote 280 illegal prescriptions for oxycodone, Percocet and hydrocodone during the period of January 2010 through March 2014. It is also alleged that he wrote prescriptions to other people and then shared the pills with them. The complaint also alleges that the doctor had a relationship with a prostitute and supported her $200 per day heroin habit.

The complaint alleges he injected her with heroin at least once and wrote her prescriptions for Xanax and Percocet. The U.S. Attorney called the defendant a drug dealer disguised as a doctor. Prosecutors are not arresting any of the individuals to whom prescriptions were written, because they are all reportedly cooperating as witnesses.

The U.S. Attorney said that doctors should know that the improper dispensation of prescription drugs is like giving "a loaded gun to a felon." If the facts alleged in the complaint are correct and can be proved sufficiently, the doctor may be pushed to enter into a plea agreement. This could be accompanied by an emphasis on the doctor's personal addiction problems, for mitigation purposes. Ideally, the legal system would provide the man a sentence free from incarceration but with mandatory treatment, counseling and community service, due to his apparent personal addiction to narcotics. Unfortunately, that kind of humane sentencing, which is likely available in the New York sentencing framework, is rarely recognized or accepted by federal prosecutors.

Source: wivb.com, "Amherst doctor arrested, accused of giving prostitute, others prescription drugs", Teresa Weakley, April 15, 2015

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