Prescription drugs are among the biggest drug epidemics to happen in recent years. Drug seekers all over seek out doctors willing to write them prescriptions for the powerful pills that they crave. The Bronx-based Astramed Physician clinics were a place were pill poppers could go for an easy prescription for intoxicating medications, mainly oxycodone, a strong pain medication. The feds caught wind of their operations and shut them down recently, resulting the arrests of 24 people including doctors and staff as well as drug dealers who sent “patients” to obtain prescriptions to get pills to put on the streets.
Astramed operated as a veritable “oxycodone dispensary.” It is reported that between January 2011 and last month, doctors at the clinic’s Southern Boulevard and Westchester Avenue locations wrote 31,500 “unnecessary prescriptions.” This would be a total of 5.5 million tablets given out over the year’s span, valued at more than half a billion dollars ($550 million) on the street.
The indictment states, “The clinic itself bears little resemblance to a standard medical office. Crowds of up to 100 people gathered outside [one of the clinics] clamoring to see one of the doctors and thereby get a prescription for oxycodone.” It also noted, “The majority of these individuals had no medical need for Oxycodone or any legitimate record documenting an ailment for which Oxycodone would be prescribed.”
It is said that violence has also been tied to the operation including two shooting murders.
Astramed’s ringleader, Dr. Kevin Lowe collected fees totaling $12 million for “visits” made by crew members during their run as an oxycodone dispensary. Dr. Robert Terdiman faces state charges in Manhattan for allegedly flooding the black market with $90 million worth of pills.