The ‘Candy Man,’ Dr. Robert Delagente, faces up to twenty years behind bars for freely prescribing painkillers.
Dr. Robert Delagente, 45, of Oakland is facing a sentence of up to twenty years in prison for his alleged involvement in aiding in the opioid epidemic by freely prescribing painkillers. Court documents referred to the physician who had been operating in the North Jersey Family Medicine facility since 2014 as the “El Chapo of Opioids” and “Candy Man.”
According to court documents, “Delagente knowingly prescribed controlled substances, such as oxycodone, Tylenol with codeine, Percocet, and benzodiazepines without a legitimate medical purpose,” frequently ignoring dangers of overdose, abuse, and even death. The allegations against him further included, “In one case, Delagente prescribed controlled substances without ever seeing the alleged patient for a medical visit or even discussing with the patient the medical need for the prescription.”
Delagente also “allowed patients to ask him for controlled substances via text message and would write a prescription for patients that he would leave at the front desk, without requiring an office visit or consultation of any kind,” according to the filing. U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito said he would regularly give patients “freely and without reason.”
Especially concerning, Delagente apparently allowed patients to dictate the strength and dosage of their addictive prescriptions and prescribed a dangerous mixture of drugs referred to as the “Holy Trinity,” which is made up of of opioids (typically oxycodone), benzodiazepines (usually alprazolam) and muscle relaxers (carisoprodol). Delagente “failed to monitor patients for addiction and ignored drug screening tests to determine whether certain patients were taking illicit drugs,” according to court documents.
It is alleged that Delagente also prescribed controlled substances even to those he knew were addicted to them. In one case, Delagente received a text from a patient declaring the individual “probably can’t stop the pk’s,” referring to painkillers and a few days later, after having trouble obtaining his medication, the patient allegedly wrote him, “If I go 4 days without [painkillers] I am in huge trouble.”
Delagente wrote back, “I will leave you a short supply RX [prescription] at the front to pick up.” This meant the patient would receive what was asked for without any face-to-face contact with the doctor. The court documents say that Delagente then wrote the same individual a prescription for 120 tablets of 30-milligram oxycodone for 30 days, and told the patient, “I’m literally sticking my neck out and can lose my medical license or [be] arrested for what I just did.” So, prosecutors allege, the physician knew what he was doing was wrong and stated so in writing.
An employee also texted Delagente at one point that one of his patients drove a long way to the practice for painkillers and was unable to see someone. Delagente responded, “Oh well…C’est la vie! Lol…He can wait for his oral heroin another day. Lol.”
The “Candy Man” has been charged with “altering medical records of patients who received controlled substance prescriptions from him after law enforcement officials had subpoenaed the records from him in late April 2019.” He faces a maximum sentence of twenty years in prison and a $1 million fine for “the distribution of controlled dangerous substances charge” as well as a $250,000 fine on an obstruction charge.