Northport doctor charged with illegal oxycodone distribution

Dr. Carmine Mandarano, who practices in East Islip,

Dr. Carmine Mandarano, who practices in East Islip, surrendered Thursday to Drug Enforcement Administration agents following a months-long investigation and is accused of writing hundreds of patient prescriptions for oxycodone pills, as well as other controlled substances, "without a legitimate medical purpose," according to a federal complaint. (Dec. 12, 2013) (Credit: James Carbone)

A doctor from Northport was arraigned in U.S. District Court Thursday on charges he wrote hundreds of prescriptions for oxycodone and other controlled substances "without a legitimate medical purpose."

Dr. Carmine Mandarano, who practices in East Islip, surrendered Thursday morning to Drug Enforcement Administration agents after a monthslong investigation, officials said.

Mandarano, 61, did not enter a plea when he appeared before Magistrate Judge Arlene R. Lindsay in Central Islip. Released on $500,000 bond, he agreed to surrender his federal registration card, which authorizes him to write prescriptions, prosecutors said.

Mandarano faces up 20 years in prison if convicted, officials said.

He and his wife had no comment and deferred questions to the doctor's Hauppauge attorney, Joseph Ferrante.

"I implore everybody to reserve judgment until all the facts come out," Ferrante said. "Dr. Mandarano has decades of service to his patients and is a highly respected physician among his peers and patients."

According to the federal complaint, Mandarano "knowingly and intentionally" distributed a wide range of controlled substances to patients -- including oxycodone, methadone, fentanyl, Suboxone and hydrocodone between May 2010 and April 2013. Oxycodone is a powerful opiate painkiller that is highly addictive.

Mandarano specializes in treatment of "asthma, allergies, immunology and smoking cessation," the complaint states.

The DEA said its investigation was sparked by "a complaint from a drug treatment professional" referred to as "John Doe," who told them his clients had described Mandarano as "a doctor from whom it was 'easy' to obtain prescriptions for oxycodone."

Mandarano issued "hundreds of prescriptions" for Schedule II and Schedule III controlled substances "outside the usual course of professional practice," according to the complaint.

The doctor wrote prescriptions for more than 308,000 oxycodone pills over the three-year period -- "an extremely high number for a sole family practitioner," the complaint states.

The complaint cites three unnamed patients interviewed during the investigation and alleges that Mandarano continued to prescribe controlled substances to all three despite being aware that one had failed a drug test for other controlled substances; the second had been involved in "doctor shopping"; and the third had admitted selling his Suboxone doses for $10 to $15 per 8-milligram tab. Suboxone is used to treat opiate addiction.

Mandarano is the latest medical professional to be arrested since an intensive federal crackdown on illegal distribution of oxycodone on Long Island began in 2011 after David Laffer's murder of four people in a Medford pharmacy while stealing painkillers.

Last month, two Long Island medical professionals admitted to illegally distributing oxycodone. Rolls Deslouches, 42, a nurse practitioner from Brentwood, and Stephen Owusu, 57, a Valley Stream podiatrist, face up to 20 years in prison.

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