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LI doctor charged with selling painkillers

A file photo of Suffolk police detective Suzanne

A file photo of Suffolk police detective Suzanne Janes taping a notice to the office door of Dr. Frank Telang in Port Jefferson Station. (Dec. 7, 2011) Photo Credit: Kevin P. Coughlin

A Port Jefferson Station doctor was arrested Wednesday on charges he illegally prescribed the painkiller oxycodone and other drugs from his office and a parking lot along the Long Island Expressway.

Frank Telang, 56, of Port Jefferson, one of the co-authors of dozens of articles in scientific journals who operates Integrative Neurology at 1174 Route 112, was arrested early Wednesday morning by agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration and arraigned in federal District Court in Central Islip.

Many of the people for whom Telang illegally prescribed drugs "in exchange for cash" were undercover Suffolk County police officers working on a DEA task force, according to court papers filed by Allen Bode, a federal prosecutor in the Eastern District.

Telang was charged with one count of intent to illegally distribute oxycodone, nine counts of illegally distributing oxycodone, and one count of altering evidence, according to an indictment filed in federal court.

He pleaded not guilty during his arraignment in federal court and was released on $350,000 bail by U.S. District Court Judge Joseph Bianco. His lawyer, Joseph Potashnik, declined to comment.

Telang, who works for the NIH out of an office at the Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton, has co-authored more than 40 papers in scientific journals, a number of them on the effects of cocaine on the brain, according to the lab's website.

In a statement, Renate Myles, an NIH spokeswoman, said only that "NIH can confirm that Frank Telang is an employee of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism."

Brookhaven spokesman Peter Genzer said that Telang has held a guest appointment at the lab since August 2003, allowing him to conduct scientific research. From 1997 to 2003, Telang worked directly for the lab as an assistant medical scientist, Genzer said, adding that the doctor has been barred "from the lab site pending the outcome of the investigation."

On Dec. 7, DEA agents raided Telang's Port Jefferson Station office and removed boxes of medical records as part of an ongoing investigation into illegal painkiller prescription writing by doctors on Long Island, according to DEA spokeswoman Erin Mulvey.

Telang is the third doctor on Long Island in December whose name has surfaced as part of the investigation.

Dr. Leonard Stambler, of Baldwin Habor, has pleaded not guilty to charges of illegally selling prescriptions for painkillers from the front porch of his home and from his car. And DEA agents have seized the records of Dr. Eric Jacobson, of Great Neck, who prescribed thousands of pain pills to Medford pharmacy killer David Laffer and his wife, Melinda Brady. Jacobson has denied any wrongdoing.

The court papers said that between April and October, Telang was videotaped providing prescriptions for oxycodone and other controlled substances "for multiple undercover" Suffolk police officers.

"These prescriptions were provided for cash without any purported medical necessity and with no examination of the undercover patients," the papers said.

The day before the raid on his office, Telang was seen by Suffolk police officers in a parking lot off the LIE, apparently about to give a purported patient a prescription, the papers said.

Telang told the officers who approached him, "I know I'm not supposed to be doing this," the papers said.

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