Like illegal drugs, prescription drugs can be abused. Every day seven thousand people start misusing prescription drugs for the first time. Prescription drug abuse has been classified as an epidemic by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Drug overdoses lead to the deaths of about 100 people every day, and most of these overdoses are due to the misuse of prescription drugs. One doctor in New York City has been charged with illegally distributing over 500,000 oxycodone pills, worth at least $10 million dollars, in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, further fueling the addiction of many people.
Dr. Hector Castro and more than four dozen others have been charged with running a network of narcotics traffickers between states and illegally distributing more than half a million oxycodone pills. According to court records, New Jersey pharmacies dispensed nearly 500,000 pills of oxycodone to fill thousands of prescriptions that originated from Castro’s Manhattan office between September 2011 and February 2013. In a similar manner, 600 prescriptions were used to dispense about 75,000 pills from New York pharmacies between August 2009 and January 2013.
The investigation into these alleged illegal prescription sales started late in 2011 after an individual suffered a fatal oxycodone overdose. Authorities discovered that the individual had a pill bottle with Castor’s name on it. The prescription was received just a day earlier. Since so many of the alleged prescriptions were filled in New Jersey there were no red flags raised for New York State’s Prescription Monitoring Program. However, the overdose combined with the high number of sales on the street related to Castro’s prescription in New Jersey brought attention to the scheme.
Castro now faces 39 counts of the criminal sale of a prescription as a controlled substance. He pleaded not guilty in Manhattan Supreme Court. Bail has been set at $500,000 bond.
Writing illegal prescription is a very serious matter that can lead to the abuse of the drugs and possibly even death by overdose. Most patients expect that when they go to the doctor that their doctor prescribes drugs that are needed for their treatment and that they are prescribed in the correct dosage. To do otherwise is medical malpractice.
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