Former NJ doctor wrote nearly 1.4 million doses of opioids that patients didn't medically need: Officials

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Thursday, December 5, 2019
Bordentown physician charged with narcotics distribution, fraud
Bordentown physician charged with narcotics distribution, fraud. Jim Gardner has more on Action News at 6 p.m. on December 4, 2019.

BORDENTOWN, New Jersey (WPVI) -- Investigators say a former Bordentown physician wrote prescriptions for nearly 1.4 million doses of opioids that patients didn't medically need.

Morris Starkman, 60, now faces charges of narcotics distribution and fraud.

Burlington County Prosecutor Scott Coffina says Starkman issued those scripts through his Bordentown Family Practice from January 2015 to January 2018. He is accused of prescribing nearly 1,400,000 total doses of opioids, including Oxycodone, Hydrocodone, Oxymorphone, Hydromorphone, morphine and fentanyl.

"He was one of the top prescribers in New Jersey," Prosecutor Coffina said. "The number of opioids he prescribed for the three-year period reviewed during the investigation was enough to provide in excess of three doses to every man, woman and child residing in Burlington County."

During that time, Starkman also allegedly submitted fraudulent claims to insurance companies.

Records seized from Starkman's practice revealed that one of his patients fatally overdosed in May 2015, two months after his last visit to the Bordentown office.

Authorities say during a December 14 visit, Starkman continued to prescribe Oxycontin to the patient, despite noting that he was "slurring and falling asleep" during the visit. The next month, when the patient came back to his office because he was "sick" and "ran out of all meds early again," Starman wrote him another prescription for 120 Oxycodone pills, said authorities.

"Due to insufficient evidence connecting his prescriptions to the patient's fatal overdose, Starkman was not criminally charged in connection with the patient's death," Coffina says.