Palm Beach County Pain Clinic Overdoes Cases
When Dr. Cynthia Cadet learned federal agents were raiding clinics where she had earned $1.2 million for 15 months of work, she called her boss to ask what was happening.
“We were doing a service and we were paid to do it,” she told now imprisoned clinic owner Chris George in a conversation caught on tape by law enforcement officials.
To her attorney, Cadet’s confusion about the March 2010 raids proves that she had no idea that her work, dispensing powerful narcotics to people who claimed they were in excruciating pain, was illegal. “She was doing a job,” attorney Michael Weinstein told a federal jury Thursday in closing statements.
The prosecutor, Paul Schwartz, scoffed at the explanation. If Cadet was truly clueless, she would have been horrified, he said. He was equally disdainful of Dr. Joseph Castronuovo’s claims that he was following accepted medical practices by doling out thousands of prescriptions for oxycodone and Xanax.
“Dr. Cadet and Dr. Castronuovo were just drug dealers,” he said. “They gave up their medical ethics … for money. They were drug dealers in white coats.”
“It is a tragedy when people die because they voluntarily abused the medication,” Weinstein said. Doctors can’t control what patients do with drugs they prescribe. “It is personal responsibility,” he said.
Schwartz and fellow prosecutor Lawrence LaVecchio said the deaths were foreseeable. Patients who traveled from Appalachia did little to hide that they were either drug addicts or dealers. Some shot up in the parking lot. Hundreds had track marks.
“At some point don’t you say: ‘Why is everyone an addict? What’s going on?’ ” Schwartz asked.
Cadet, 43, a former emergency room physician, is accused of causing seven of the deaths, although she faces a possible life sentence for only six of them. Castronuovo, 74, who specialized in nuclear medicine, is accused of causing two deaths. Both also face charges of conspiracy to distribute controlled substances and money laundering.
Both Weinstein and Castronuovo’s attorney, Thomas Sclafani, insisted that in some cases there was no proof the drugs either doctor prescribed caused the deaths. Source, full story
Top Oxycodone Purchasers in the United States
While Florida has been viewed as the epicenter of the nation’s ‘pill mill’ epidemic, new statistics reflect that the efforts of the DEA and its federal, state, and local law enforcement partners have made a significant difference in Florida. In 2009, the DEA Miami Field Division (MFD) introduced the Tactical Diversion Squad (TDS) in Weston, Florida. A DEA TDS brings together DEA’s criminal, regulatory, and analytical experts with its state and local task force partners to investigate violations of the Controlled Substance Act and other Federal or State Statutes pertaining to the diversion of licit pharmaceuticals. TDS investigations include rogue pharmacies, doctors, and pain clinics. Since then, TDS has expanded to Tampa, Orlando and now West Palm Beach.
Since 2011, TDS initiated investigations such as Operation Pill Nation I and II. Collectively these investigations have resulted in the arrest of more than 140 individuals, to include 39 doctors and 21 clinic/pharmacy owners; the seizure of approximately 2.2 million dosage units of controlled substances, the seizure of approximately $9 million in U.S. currency, real estate, and exotic vehicles; through the execution of more than 45 search warrants. Approximately 42 physicians lost their DEA registrations through the issuance of Immediate Suspension Orders (ISO). The ISO suspended the DEA registrant’s ability to handle controlled substances in Schedules II – V untill a final decision was made by the DEA. Also approximately 61 more DEA registrations were voluntarily surrendered by physicians following an official visit from the DEA. DEA has taken action on 4 distributors, and 38 pain clinics were closed due to the investigative efforts of the TDS.
DEA, MFD, Special Agent in Charge Mark R. Trouville stated, “These new statistics shed light on our efforts; however, our work is far from over. The DEA along with our state and local partners will persevere to ensure that powerful medicines are getting into the hands of legitimate patients and that the diversion of licit pharmaceutical drugs will not be tolerated.”
The combination of law enforcement activity, regulatory actions against DEA registrants, and new Florida laws that have stripped doctor’s ability to dispense highly addictive pain medicines at rogue pain clinics, have forced addicts and drug dealers who previously traveled from other states to Florida seeking oxycodone to turn elsewhere have made a positive difference in the fight against Florida’s prescription drug abuse epidemic.
In 2012, the DEA MFD initiated administrative actions against nationwide pharmaceutical wholesalers and retail chains that operate throughout Florida. In February 2012, the DEA served an ISO on Cardinal Health distribution center located in Lakeland, Florida. In May 2012, the DEA settled with Cardinal Health, which is a pharmaceutical wholesale distributor headquartered in Dublin, Ohio, that suspends for two years its ability to sell controlled-substance medications from its distribution facility in Lakeland, Florida. The settlement also includes a signed Administrative Memorandum of Agreement, the terms of which will apply to all of Cardinal’s 28 registered distribution facilities. In September 2012, the DEA revoked the DEA registrations at two CVS pharmacies located in Sanford, Florida. This action marked the first time the DEA has revoked the registration of a registrant that is part of a large national chain.
In September 2012, the DEA served Walgreens Distribution Center located in Jupiter, Florida with an ISO, and from November 2012 to February 2013, DEA MFD served Order to Show Cause (OSC) on six Florida Walgreen’s pharmacies located in Fort Piece, Hudson, Oviedo, Port Richey, and Fort Myers. An OSC is served as a notice to a DEA registrant to provide them an opportunity to show cause as to why the DEA should not revoke their DEA registration because its registration is inconsistent with the public interest. This administrative action does not affect a registrant’s ability to handle or distribute a controlled substance such as oxycodone, hydrocodone or other controlled substances in Schedules II – V. An administrative hearing has been scheduled for April 23, 2013, for the Walgreens Distribution Center and the six Walgreens pharmacies.
The DEA will continue to educate and work with its registrants and the public to battle Florida’s prescription drug abuse epidemic. Source
West Palm Beach Oxycodone Charges Attorney
Oxycodone is a powerful and addictive pain medication that is often abused as recreation. Oxycodone charges include possession of Oxycodone, drug trafficking, racketeering and prescription fraud. These may lead to a mandatory minimum prison sentence of three years or longer, as well as fines and a criminal record that haunts you the rest of your life.
At the law firm of Andrew D. Stine, P.A., in West Palm Beach, Florida, our defense team has many years representing clients charged with drug crimes. We have a thorough understanding of Florida laws and how to apply them to your unique case. Contact our firm to discuss your case in a free initial consultation.
Many Oxycodone offense cases involve false allegations. The police may notice the medication during a routine traffic stop and charge you with possession. If the amount of Oxycodone is over four grams, the police can charge you with drug trafficking. However, neither of these are valid allegations if you have a prescription for the medication or the pills were left over from a former prescription. If you have a prescription, having possession of the drugs is legal.
The law firm of Andrew D. Stine, P.A., is involved in many high profile criminal cases throughout Florida. One of our cases involved a doctor charged with racketeering and administering Oxycodone, Methodone and Roxicodone unlawfully. By being proactive, we can often resolve these cases in our clients’ favor.
Free consultation 24/7: Call West Palm Beach criminal defense lawyer Andrew D. Stine, P.A. at 561.880.4300. Se habla español.