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A Long Island doctor has been charged with murder after prescribing painkillers to 5 patients already addicted to opioids

Summary List PlacementProsecutors have called a Long Island doctor a "serial killer" and charged him with five counts of murder, alleging he prescribed massive amounts of painkillers to "victims in the throes of addiction." George Blatti, 75, pleaded not guilty on Thursday to the five murder charges, as well as...

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Summary List Placement

Prosecutors have called a Long Island doctor a “serial killer” and charged him with five counts of murder, alleging he prescribed massive amounts of painkillers to “victims in the throes of addiction.”

George Blatti, 75, pleaded not guilty on Thursday to the five murder charges, as well as 11 counts of first-degree reckless endangerment. Blatti remains in custody and is due back in court on March 30.

Blatti prescribed painkillers to his addicted patients from a variety of bizarre locations, including a makeshift office at a former Radio Shack, his car, the parking lot of a hotel, and even a Dunkin’ Donuts, according to a release from Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas, Nassau County Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder, and US Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent Ray Donovan.

They added that Blatti had no specialized training or accreditation in pain management, and prescribed medications without examining the patients or reviewing their medical history. They added that he even prescribed opioid painkillers to people he never met or spoke to.

“We charge that this defendant’s actions were extreme and depraved, that he arrogantly and callously disregarded incessant warnings about his dangerous actions, and that his prescription pad was as lethal as any murder weapon,” Singas told reporters at a news conference.

Prosecutors also said in a statement they believe the charges against Blatti marks the first time a doctor has been charged in the state with “depraved indifference murder.”

In Blatti’s case, prosecutors said the doctor “had many reasons to know and appreciate the deadly danger in which his actions placed his patients, and that he was aware through his own inquiries that several had died.”

According to the indictment, Blatti was warned by pharmacies, insurers, and Medicaid about his “excessive opioid prescriptions,” and ignored both pleas and threats from his own patients and their family members to stop prescribing the drugs.

The charges against Blatti are a rare instance of a doctor being held accountable for over-prescribing painkillers amid the nationwide opioid crisis. The New York Times reported that nearly 500 doctors have faced drug-related criminal charges, lawsuits, or had their medical licenses suspended in 2019, compared with just 88 in 2011.

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