Yet another disgraced doctor has pleaded guilty to dealing out highly addictive painkillers like candy, federal prosecutors in Manhattan say. This time, the axe fell on Felix Rodriguez, a 52-year-old Manhattan physician living in the Bronx, who pled out to distributing 1,000 Oxycodone pills. He'll be sentenced in May.
Like other bent doctors caught up in a law enforcement crackdown on illegal distribution of painkillers, for more than a year, Rodriguez, a doctor of internal medicine, was writing hundreds of prescriptions for people who he hadn't ever examined or even met. The pills were going to a drug gang who then resold them on the street for as much as $30 each. When he was arrested in 2011, authorities estimated that as many as 50,000 pills were involved.
As the Voice noted in its report in December, more people fatally overdose on prescription painkillers than cocaine and heroin combined. More people die from painkillers than are killed in traffic accidents. Authorities say it's the fastest-growing drug problem in the country.
"Rodriguez made a deal with the devil and profited by the sale of
powerful pain medication for illegitimate use," says DEA Special-Agent-in-Charge Brian C. Crowell.