A former housemate and patient of a Baldwin Harbor doctor accused of distributing the painkiller oxycodone said Thursday that the physician gave him pills illegally but also tried to get him to stop using the drug.
Christopher Adams, 36, testified about this complicated relationship as a government witness at Dr. Leonard Stambler's trial in federal District Court in Central Islip. Stambler is accused of conspiracy to distribute oxycodone and possession of the drug.
Adams, who said he had a painful spinal problem since childhood, testified he met Stambler in 2010 through his girlfriend, who was also a patient and friend of the doctor's.
Initially, Stambler just gave him prescriptions for a few pills a day, Adams said under questioning by Eastern District prosecutor Allen Bode.
Gradually, Stambler wrote prescriptions for increasing amounts of the painkiller, partly because the dosage he said he needed for his pain increased, and partly because the doctor knew he did not have a job "so I could make money," by selling the drug, Adams said.
Adams said that he would sell for $10 the oxycodone pills he got at a pharmacy with Stambler's prescriptions for $1.
Stambler suggested he could sell the painkiller pills at [dance] "raves" for $25 to $30, although he never did, Adams said.
Under questioning by Stambler's defense attorney, Gary Schoer of Syosset, Adams said the doctor tried to convince him to stop using oxycodone and suggested that he take a medication that blocked the painkiller's effect. But the medication was too expensive to buy and he didn't have health insurance, Adams said.
Yet Stambler continued to prescribe oxycodone for him even after he was arrested for crashing a car into an East Rockaway restaurant while he was high on the drug, Adams said.
Once he was desperate for even more oxycodone than Stambler was willing to prescribe, Adams admitted he stole one of the doctor's prescription blanks and forged a prescription.
When Stambler found out about it, he did not alert authorities but warned him not to do it again, Adams said.
Adams admitted to a checkered past in response to questions by both Schoer and prosecutor Bode.
Adams said that from the ages of 18 to 21 he was an enforcer for drug dealers, collecting money owed by inflicting beatings using a baseball bat, billy club and a gun handle. He also said several relatives had obtained orders of protection against him after he had attempted to commit suicide several years ago in front of them.
Stambler faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted.