A New Jersey doctor who called himself the “Candy Man” and the “El Chapo of opioids” was sentenced to six years in federal prison on Thursday for writing scripts for patients who didn’t need them, including some he has never even seen.
Robert Delagente, 48, pleaded guilty in February 2020 to distributing controlled hazardous substances, conspiring to distribute them, and falsifying medical records while acting as a pill doctor at North Jersey Family Medicine in Oakland.
He was sentenced to an additional three years of probation in addition to the prison sentence, the New Jersey U.S. Attorney’s Office announced Thursday.
Delagente began working at the medical facility in 2014, where he prescribed addictive opioids “such as oxycodone, Percocet, Tylenol with codeine and various benzodiazepines” without legitimate medical purposes, according to court documents.
The doctor allowed his patients to specify the strength and dosage of the drugs he prescribed, often dispensing a dangerous combo known as the “Holy Trinity” – opioids, benzodiazepines and muscle relaxants, prosecutors said.
Delagente also failed to monitor patients for addiction and prescribed medications to patients he knew were addicted, prosecutors said.
A patient who was clearly addicted to opioids texted the doctor during an exchange: “If I go 4 days without [painkillers] I have huge problems.
Delagente responded by writing “I’ll leave you a shortage of RX [prescription] up front to pick up,” and wrote the patient a prescription for 20 30-milligram oxycodone tablets for 30 days.
“I’m literally sticking my neck out and I can lose my medical license or [be] arrested for what I just did,” he told the patient during the exchange.
“He ignored the inherent danger and medical risk of overdose, addiction, and death that can accompany prescriptions for highly addictive opioids, benzodiazepines, and muscle relaxants, alone or in combination with each other,” they said. DOJ officials in a statement. Thusday.
He was also accused of altering the medical records of patients for whom he wrote prescriptions, according to government subpoenaed documents.
“This defendant knowingly prescribed some of the most dangerous and addictive drugs available to his patients, sometimes with no more contact than a text message from the patient,” U.S. Attorney Carpenito said in a statement after Mr. Delagente. “Many of these patients were dealing with pain and addiction, and instead of getting help from their doctor, they were dragged deeper into the addiction cycle.
Delagente also pleaded guilty in 2019 to health care fraud charges for $32,000 in services he never performed, resulting in the temporary suspension of his medical license, according to the New York Attorney General’s Office. Jersey.
New York Post