DEA: Investigators “looking at” upstate physicians for possible overprescribing
This statistic is staggering.
“3 out of 4 people addicted to heroin started with pain medication.”
Because the medical community is now aware of how addictive painkillers can be, the Drug Enforcement Administration is seeking out irresponsible doctors with a special task force.
David Zon is Assistant Special Agent in Charge at the DEA Albany District Office.
“We have multiple cases in all five offices of upstate where we're looking at doctors and physicians,” Zon said.
One of the DEA's most notable cases in New York is still going through the court system.
Buffalo Dr. Eugene Gosy is named in a federal indictment, accused of illegally issuing hundreds of thousands of prescriptions for opioids.
“Dr. Gosy wrote more prescriptions than all of the doctors in the State of New York,” Zon said.
One unexpected consequence of the Gosy case, Zon says innocent patients truly suffering from chronic pain couldn't find a new doctor.
“They would go to another doctor and they would say, ‘You were Dr. Gosy's patient? We want nothing to do with you,’” Zon said.
The DEA has since reached out to the Board of Medicine to help those patients.
Zon says the number of doctors still under investigation for unethical practices right now is relatively small, but he says the impacts are huge.
“That small percentage of people can have a devastating impact on a community,” Zon said.
If convicted, Dr. Gosy could face up to 20 years in prison and up to a million dollars in fines.
His trial is expected to begin the coming months.