Pearl River Doctor Charged in the Overdose Death of Rockland County Man - Daily Hudson Valley News

Pearl River Doctor Charged in the Overdose Death of Rockland County Man

Jan 9th, 2013 | By | Category: Featured Articles

PEARL RIVER MAN CHARGED WITH ILLEGAL DISTRIBUTION OF OXYMORPHONE CAUSING THE OVERDOSE DEATH OF 21-YEAR OLD MAN

Defendant Alleged to Have Distributed a Variety of Other Prescription Drugs

Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Brian Crowell, the Special Agent-in-Charge of the New York Field Division of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”), George Longworth, the Commissioner of Westchester County Department of Public Safety, Thomas Zugibe, the Rockland County District Attorney, and Kevin Nulty, the Chief of the Orangetown Police Department, announced the arrest Monday morning of CRAIG OLEKSOWICZ for illegally distributing oxymorphone, a Schedule II controlled substance, the use of which caused the October 2011 death of another individual, a 21-year-old man in Pearl River. Oleksowicz was additionally charged with illegally distributing codeine, methadone, and Valium pills.

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara stated: “As has been reported, prescription drug trafficking and abuse is an exploding epidemic, claiming the lives of almost 15,000 people a year, more than illegal street drugs like heroin and cocaine combined. As alleged, the defendant was essentially an outlaw pharmacy, and worse, a lethal one. The illegal dealers of prescription drugs will not get any easier treatment from this Office simply because what they are selling can be legally
used when properly prescribed. We will not relent in combating this new drug scourge. We commend the teamwork and professionalism of our federal and local partners that led to this arrest.”

DEA Special Agent-in-Charge Brian Crowell stated: “There is zero difference between the local street drug dealer selling heroin to that of a person selling illegally obtained prescription pain medication. Some of these diverted pills, like Opana, are known on the streets as ‘Stop Signs’, due to its shape. The misuse of this and other diverted pain medicine can cause people to become addicts leading to tragic overdoses. Diverted pain pills, not prescribed for the right reasons nor by the right doctor, and sold to people on the street, are the leading cause of overdoses and deaths in our region. Many continue to believe the illegal distribution of pain medications is harmless, this charge and arrest should make clear there is no difference between selling pain medication not prescribed by a doctor and supplying heroin.”

Westchester County Department of Public Safety Commissioner George Longworth stated: “This investigation is another example of the tremendous collaboration that exists among federal, county and local law enforcement agencies in the Hudson Valley. The Department of Public Safety is committed to continuing to work with all our law enforcement partners to combat narcotics trafficking in our communities.”

Rockland County District Attorney Thomas Zugibe stated: “This defendant is accused of trafficking in drugs which are extremely potent and sometimes deadly. Rockland County has seen a huge rise in the use and abuse of prescription painkillers, such as Opana. In fact, the White House Office on National Drug Policy says prescription drug abuse is the nation’s fastest growing drug problem, responsible for the deaths of more Americans than heroin and cocaine combined. My thanks to the members of the Rockland County Drug Task Force, the Orangetown Police Department Detective Bureau and the DEA’s Diversionary Unit for partnering in this investigation. All levels of law enforcement must continue working together to battle our growing pill epidemic.”

Orangetown Police Department Chief Kevin Nulty stated: “It was sad for me to see a young man from my own neighborhood in Orangetown die as a result of being illegally sold a prescription narcotic substance. The death was very real to me. I greatly commend the work of the investigators from my department and the US Drug Enforcement Administration who worked
very hard in identifying the parties responsible for the drug sale of that caused this death. I am very pleased that this case has been brought to a successful closure. Stopping the epidemic of the sale of and illicit use of prescription drugs is a new challenge for law enforcement agencies across the United States. We will continue to work with our local, state and federal partners in our public education, prevention and enforcement efforts.”

According to the Indictment, which was unsealed today in White Plains federal court, and other public documents:

Between at least February 2011 and October 2011, Oleksowicz, 37, of Pearl River and others regularly distributed Oleksowicz’s prescription oxymorphone pills for profit. Oxymorphone is a powerful painkiller with a high potential for addiction and abuse, and its improper use may be fatal. In October 2011, the use of oxymorphone pills supplied by
Oleksowicz caused the overdose death of a young man residing in Pearl River.

Following that death, Oleksowicz continued his illegal distribution of pills, selling codeine, methadone, and Valium pills on at least three separate occasions in February 2012.

If convicted, Oleksowicz faces a mandatory minimum penalty of 20 years in prison, a maximum penalty of life in prison, and a maximum fine of $1 million or twice the gain or loss resulting from the crime.

Mr. Bharara praised the investigative efforts of the DEA, the Westchester County Department of Public Safety, the Rockland County Drug Task Force, and the Orangetown Police Department. He also thanked the Rockland County District Attorney’s Office for its assistance in the case.

The case is being handled by the Office’s White Plains Division. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Christopher J. DiMase and Abigail S. Kurland are in charge of the prosecution.

The charges contained in the Indictment are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

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  1. Physical pain is no longer tolerated and is avoided by the use of opium derivatives in pill form. This is good news for doctors; most patients are pain suffers who often return for refills. But a competitor has arisen in the form of an unemployed youngster who is offering the same product at a discount. The source of supply for the young drug dealers are patients with medical insurance coverage, they get the pain pills for free and by selling them on the open market their incomes are supplemented. It is a money maker for everybody but doctors whose waiting rooms are now only half full.

  2. I think the parents of this 21 year old should be held more accountable. Yes, what Oleksowicz did is wrong, but the kid would have gotten the pills anyway. The parents are using him as a scapegoat because they failed their child as parents by not getting him help. The parents feel guilty for their sons death.