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Thousand Oaks doctor arrested for writing unlawful prescriptions
Recreational use of prescription drugs, especially among young adults, has become rampant in the United States owing to the misconception that these drugs are safe as they are prescribed by doctors. Surprisingly, most of these drugs are easily accessible through family and friends, or clandestinely bought on the streets. But, illicit sales of prescription drugs is a serious offense which carries heavy penalties, such as a felony record with a prison term, along with the loss of licenses in case of convicted doctors.
Recently, in December 2016, the Ventura County Interagency Pharmaceutical Crimes Unit (PCU) and the Ventura Police Department ended an 11-month long investigation with the arrest of Dr. Paul Duran, 50, of West Hills, on charges of illegally selling pharmaceutical drugs. He was later booked into Ventura County jail on account of two felony offenses associated with the alleged crimes.
Earlier, in February 2016, investigating authorities from the PCU and the Ventura Police Department began a probe into the illegal sales of prescription drugs on the streets of the cities of Oxnard and Ventura, which led them to Duran’s office in Thousand Oaks, 2920 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd.
During the course of the investigation, the officers also discovered that Dr. Duran was serving a six-year probation period with the California Medical Board, following the surrender of his license in 2005 and its subsequent reinstatement in 2013. Meanwhile, he was barred from overseeing the fellow physician assistants and engaging in independent practice. Moreover, Duran was also asked to examine or treat female patients in the presence of a third-party chaperon.
Before issuing an arrest warrant, officials said that they had made several undercover purchases from Dr. Duran at his office where he would clandestinely write valid prescriptions for opioids such as oxycodone and hydrocodone, benzodiazepines such as Alprazolam (Xanax), and stimulants such as amphetamine (Adderall), without conducting any prior medical test or examination.
On recovering considerable evidence relating to the illegal medical prescriptions and sales from both Dr. Duran’s office and his home in West Hills, he was made to surrender his Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) registration, thereby losing his authority to write prescriptions for controlled substances.
Commending the efforts of the investigating team, Alan Barcelona, President of California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA) said that much could be accomplished in the war against the illegal sales of prescription drugs if the state investigators collaborate with the local law enforcement bodies.
Prescription drug abuse in Ventura County
As idyllic and picturesque, Ventura County in California is currently fighting a tough battle with prescription drug abuse. Unfortunately, prescription opioids are a primary gateway drug leading to heroin use. Studies show that in Ventura County alone, the misuse of prescription medications has taken over marijuana addiction as one of the widely prevalent problems nationwide.
Seeking professional help
If you or your loved one is grappling with prescription drug addiction, call the Thousand Oaks Drug Treatment and Rehab Center to learn about the best treatment available in your area. You may call at our 24/7 helpline number 805-266-7122 or chat online with our representative for further information.