Recently, police have charged a Long Island doctor with drug distribution for allegedly selling oxycodone without a valid prescription. The man was charged with criminal sale of a controlled substance after police allegedly observed him sell oxycodone to two different patients. Police allege that the drug trafficking occurred between November 2012 and March 2013, and that the man charged $250 or more for the oxycodone prescriptions, which he gave without a medical examination or documentation in violation of the law. According to law enforcement, the doctor made approximately $1.5 million in profits from oxycodone prescriptions over a period of two years. The doctor’s operation came to the attention of police when one of his patients was arrested, and undercover police officers bought prescriptions disguised as patients. If convicted, the doctor faces up to 15 years in prison.

Oxycodone is a painkiller used to treat moderate and severe pain, and it relieves pain by altering the way the brain and nervous system processes feelings of pain. If abused it can be extremely addictive, with side effects including hallucinations, seizures, loss of consciousness, difficulty breathing and nausea. Because of its habit-forming tendencies, law enforcement authorities treat this drug as a controlled substance, and treat those who sell it without a prescription like ordinary drug offenders.

Prescription drugs are often much easier to obtain than illegal drugs such as marijuana or cocaine, and thus their abuse is fairly common. In this case, the doctor was allegedly selling prescriptions for the drug to anyone with enough money, regardless of whether they had a legitimate need for it or not. Because of the enormous potential for abuse and the ease of obtaining the drug, the illegal sale of prescription drugs such as oxycodone is a common offense.

Anyone accused of drug trafficking is entitled to a presumption of innocence until guilt is proven beyond a reasonable doubt. Defendants in such cases have the constitutional right to question witnesses, dispute the admissibility of evidence and challenge the legality of any police searches or seizures.

Source: NBC New York, “Long Island Doctor charged in drug case,” Greg Cergol, July 30, 2013