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Overdose deaths: NY doctor charged with multiple accounts of manslaughter
06-12-18 Category: Opioid

Overdose deaths: NY doctor charged with multiple accounts of manslaughter

Stringent measures adopted by authorities to put an end to over prescriptions is not helping much in this area. In one such incident, a 65-year-old New York doctor has been charged with homicide and other grave offenses for overprescribing opioid painkillers and other drugs. Dr. Lawrence Choy has been charged with 231counts, including charges of manslaughter, reckless endangerment and criminal sale of controlled substances (CS). The charges were framed after his arrest in March from a house in Sheboygan, Wisconsin where Dr. Choy had shifted on learning about the investigation being initiated against him.

Dr. Choy stands accused of overprescribing anti-anxiety medication, muscle relaxer and opioid painkillers. He has been charged with the death of Michael Ries (30) and Eliot Castillo (35), both of whom were prescribed high doses of Xanax, oxycodone and a muscle relaxant. Typically prescribed for treating anxiety and panic disorders, Xanax is designed to be used on a short-term basis but is often abused, leading to dependence and eventually Xanax addiction. According to city special narcotics prosecutor Bridget Brennan, the combination of the three drugs affects respiration and heartbeat, which increases the chance of an overdose.

The New York doctor is also accused of recklessly endangering the lives of many other patients, including that of Daniel Barry (43) who fatally overdosed in January 2016, and eight other living patients. Dr. Choy was aware of the deteriorating effects of his prescribed medicines on the patients, including those who were involved in motor vehicle accidents and others. Yet he continued to prescribe the medications, completely discounting the health risks they might pose to them.

From prescription to addiction

A licensed-internal medicine doctor, Dr. Choy shifted to pain management in 2012 owing to his delinquent tax bills and began issuing a large number of prescriptions to his patients, including those with genuine pain issues. Soon, the medical practitioner was able to make hundreds of thousands of dollars from his scheme. According to investigators, while some of his patients’ with legitimate pain issues became addicted to the medicines that he prescribed, including three of his patients who eventually died due to an overdose, a few even started re-selling the prescribed drugs. As per Brennan, many of Dr. Chow’s patients had legitimate pain issues but were deliberately put on the path to drug dependence and addiction.

According to the investigators, in addition to prescribing medicines to New Yorkers, the doctor drew patients from outside the state, including Pennsylvania, Long Island, New Jersey and Upstate New York. What led to the criminal investigations were suspicious prescriptions issued in his name being filled in many Pennsylvania pharmacies. In March 2016, investigators started digging into Dr. Choy’s practice.

Treatment for Xanax addiction

A fast-acting benzodiazepine medication, Xanax is one of the most sought-after addictive drugs in the market that is usually sought for its calming effects. Even when taken in smaller doses, it is possible for one to develop a physical and psychological addiction to the drug, resulting in dangerous health consequences. At Sovereign Health of California, we offer rehab for Xanax addiction that addresses the root cause behind one’s addiction to the drug. Treatment programs offered at our specialized Xanax addiction rehab centers are evidence-based and have been clinically proven to be effective. Rehab for Xanax addiction may combine detox with behavioral therapies followed by aftercare programs to ensure recovery and avoid relapse. To know more about our addiction treatment programs or to locate the nearest rehab centers, call us at our 24/7 helpline or chat live online with our representatives.

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