- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 25, 2020

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) - A New Jersey doctor who authorities said described himself as “Candy Man” and “El Chapo of Opioids” faces prison and fines after he admitted prescribing opioids without a legitimate medical purpose.

Robert Delagente, 45, of Oakland, on Monday pleaded guilty in federal court to distribution of controlled dangerous substances, conspiracy to distribute them and falsifying medical records.

“This defendant knowingly prescribed for his patients some of the most dangerous and addictive drugs available, sometimes with no more contact than a text message from the patient,” U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito said in a news release. “Many of these patients were dealing with pain and addiction, and instead of getting help from their doctor, they were drawn deeper into the cycle of drug abuse.”

Authorities said Delagente failed to monitor patients for addiction and ignored drug screening tests to determine whether certain patients were taking illicit drugs.

Patients often picked up prescriptions for painkillers at the front desk of Delagente’s Bergen County office, prosecutors said.

Delagente faces up to 20 years in prison and fines of over $1 million when he’s sentenced in June.

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