An oxycodone drug ring was busted in the Bronx, New York after Dr. Robert Terdiman was arrested on Tuesday in a Bronx clinic. Terdiman wrote most of his prescriptions at Astramed, a pain clinic owned by Dr. Kevin Lowe; the clinic’s patients were mostly drug dealers and people who were addicted to oxycodone. Dr. Lowe said in an indictment in federal court on Wednesday that he relied on state licensed and board certified doctors who wrote prescriptions for large amounts of oxycodone for cash.
Terdiman along with 34 others were responsible for writing 31,000 fake oxycodone prescriptions. The plan brought 5.5 million pills onto the streets, which is enough to get every man, woman and child in Bronx high three times over. Police officials said that Terdiman stopped his medical practice in 2004 and came out of retirement in June of 2012. He then wrote 18,700 prescriptions to 4,200 people; that amount is worth $90 million. The pills people were prescribed sold for $40 per pill.
An oxycodone drug ring that was busted in the Bronx was operated in two different clinics under the Astramed name. Edward Diskant, the assistant United States attorney, said that part of Lowe’s brilliant plan was that he was able to keep his hands mostly clean by hiring other doctors to do his work. The clinics were investigated after Bronx residents complained to New York Senator Jeff Klein about the large crowds that gathered outside both clinics.
The clinic was seen as a quick way for addicts and drug dealers to get pills since the patients were briefly examined and then given a prescription. One patient who wanted to remain anonymous and went there for medical reasons said that the clinic is a pill mill since it is a place people can go to get pills without being questioned. The patient also said that they were now addicted to something that people can prescribe to patients.
Bridget Brennan, a special narcotics prosecutor, said that when a major supplier to the black market is shut down it saves lives; she also said that over 4,200 individuals were given prescriptions at the Bronx clinic. The clinics are not only responsible for selling illegal drugs but also for multiple injuries that happened in conjunctions with the drug ring. Two fatal shootings were part of a handful of incidents of violence that occurred because of the ring.
Court documents reported that one clinic worker was thrown into a wall in September after trying to interfere with the criminal status quo. According to court documents, when one doctor told people that he was not accepting new patients he was threatened at gunpoint outside the office on Westchester Avenue by three masked men who were angry that the doctor was not writing any more prescriptions.
After an oxycodone drug ring was busted in the Bronx, Dr. Lowe and Dr. Terdiman as well as 23 others, including medical office workers and security personnel referred to as bouncers, were charged with playing different roles in the plan to sell oxycodone prescriptions. Terdiman was also charged separately on under New York state law with the criminal sale of prescriptions; his attorney said he pleaded not guilty to all charges and is being held in jail until a judge hears bail arguments on Feb. 19.
By Jordan Bonte