Wilmington doctor charged with prescribing more than 7000 oxycodone pills – The News…

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    Plan released to tackle opioid, heroin addiction in Delaware

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    Opioid crisis hits home for mother who lost son

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A Wilmington physician has been charged with illegally prescribing more than 7,000 oxycodone pills from Dec. 2012 to Feb. 2016, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Dr. Charles Esham, who no longer has an active Delaware medical license but previously had an office in Wilmington, was indicted Friday on 76 counts of conspiracy to distribute oxycodone and distribution of oxycodone – a highly addictive painkiller more commonly known by the brand name Oxycontin, according to federal prosecutors.

Prosecutors say Esham issued the prescriptions outside of his professional practice and “not for a legitimate medical purpose,” according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Each of the 76 felony counts carries up to 20 years in prison, the office said.

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“The charges against Dr. Esham illustrate our office’s commitment to combat those who contribute to the opioid crisis, whether they deal drugs on the street or out of a medical office,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Weiss in a statement.

Investigators from the Drug Enforcement Administration, Newark Police Department, Delaware State Police, New Castle County Police Department, Maryland State Police, Wilmington Police Department, Homeland Security Investigations, University of Delaware Police and the Philadelphia Police Department all participated in the investigation.

The charges come in the midst of what many Delawareans consider to be the public health crisis of this generation.

A memorial bookmark from Penny Rogers 23 year-old sonBuy Photo

A memorial bookmark from Penny Rogers 23 year-old son Vincente Tambourelli memorial service after he died from a heroin overdose.  (Photo: Jennifer Corbett, The News Journal)

So far this year, 176 have died from suspected drug overdoses throughout the state, with fentanyl – a heroin lookalike about 50 times more powerful – being a driving factor in the overdose spike.

 Earlier this week, health officials issued a warning for those using heroin in Kent County after two people died from overdoses last weekend. The county has not seen the number of overdose deaths that New Castle and Sussex counties regularly report.

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The News Journal has also chronicled Delaware’s battle with the heroin and opioid epidemic, traveling to Gloucester, Massachusetts, and Florida in attempts to see solutions that are working in other places.

Last year, New Castle County police launched Hero Help – a program that offers treatment over incarceration for low-level drug offenses – in attempts to get those suffering with addiction the help they need.

Soon after, Dover police rolled out the Angel Program, the original program that started in Massachusetts, and other departments have since followed suit.

“Too many times, our police officers and other first responders see first-hand the dangers of heroin and fentanyl-related overdoses,” said state Department of Health and Social Services Secretary Dr. Kara Odom Walker earlier this week. “Our first priority is to save lives.”

How to get help

New Castle County hotline: (800) 652-2929

Kent and Sussex counties hotline: (800) 345-6785

HelpIsHereDE.com

Contact Brittany Horn at (302) 324-2771 or [email protected] Follow her on Twitter at @brittanyhorn.

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Wilmington doctor charged with prescribing more than 7000 oxycodone pills – The News…

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