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A doctor in New Jersey who calls himself the “Candy Man” has been sentenced to six years in federal prison for illegally prescribing opioids to addicts. The US Attorney’s Office for New Jersey announced on Thursday that 48-year-old Robert Delagente was found guilty of writing prescriptions for opioids issued to patients whom he has never seen in person and who medically had no need for them.

According to the New York Post, Delagente, also dubbed the “El Chapo of Opioids” had pleaded guilty to distributing controlled dangerous substances in February 2020. He also entered a guilty plea for falsifying medical records and acting as a pill-mill doctor. The New Jersey DA’s office said Delagente was handed an additional 3-year sentence of supervised release on top of the time he has been incarcerated.

Having served as a former doctor at North Jersey Family Medicine in Oakland, Delagente illegally issued prescriptions for various drugs such as oxycodone, Percocet, alprazolam, diazepam, clonazepam, and temazepam as well as Tylenol with codeine. Investigators said he allowed the patients to decide the dosage and strength for the drugs they would ask from him and had even provided a cocktail he called the “Holy Trinity”. The special drug concoction contained a combination of opioids, benzodiazepines, and muscle relaxants. These, he regularly supplied to individuals he knew had an addiction to them.

The former doctor began working at the medical facility in 2014. The Department of Justice said in a statement that Delagente intentionally ignored the inherent danger and risks of his patients overdosing or abusing the drugs he would prescribe them.

“This defendant knowingly prescribed for his patients some of the most dangerous and addictive drugs available, sometimes with no more contact than a text message from the patient,” U.S. Attorney Carpenito said.

“Many of these patients were dealing with pain and addiction, and instead of getting help from their doctor, they were drawn deeper into the cycle of drug abuse," the statement read.

In one of his exchanges, a patient addicted to opioids admitted he sent Delagente a text message asking for painkillers. He was prescribed 20 tablets of 30-milligram oxycodone for 30 days despite the doctor knowing the patient was hooked and could not function without them.

Delagente’s medical license was temporarily suspended in 2019 following state charges of healthcare claims fraud amounting to $32,000 in services he never rendered.

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