Crime

Pa. doctor arrested for prescribing fentanyl and oxycodone that caused fatal overdose

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro has announced that a Jefferson County doctor will face charges for prescribing opioids that caused two patients to overdose.

One of the patients died.

Henry Dela Torre, 68 of DuBois, prescribed the drugs to patients, who were reportedly struggling with addiction, starting in April 2015, according to the attorney general’s office. He was charged with two counts each of felony administration of a controlled substance, felony submitting an improper service, misdemeanor selling a controlled substance and misdemeanor recklessly engineering another person, according to court records.

The investigation into Dela Torre began in August 2016 when one of his patients overdosed, and police at the scene found bottles of prescription opioids that had been prescribed by Dela Torre, according to the release. The patient’s brother overdosed two months later, and he was revived with Narcan.

Dela Torre “was aware of (the patient’s) tendency to overdose and failed to significantly modify his prescribing behavior,” according to the release.

“The illegal diversion and misuse of prescription drugs are fueling the opioid crisis in Pennsylvania,” Shapiro said in a statement. “Our arrests for unlawful diversions are up 72 percent from a year ago, and we’ve added resources to attack this growing problem. Whether you’re a drug dealer on the street corner or a physician, if your actions help fuel this epidemic, we’re coming after you.”

Bail was set at $150,000.

Shawn Annarelli: 814-235-3928, @Shawn_Annarelli

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