Pain doctor gets five years in prison for trafficking

A Virginia physician who specialized in pain management has been sentenced to nearly five years in prison for prescribed large amounts of opiates. The sentence imposed in federal court against William E. Hurwitz, MD, 61, comes for his conviction earlier in 2007 on 16 counts of drug trafficking. The sentencing judge said Hurwitz should have been able to tell that some of his patients were drug dealers or drug abusers.

According to prosecutors, Hurwitz's 400 patients, who came from 39 states to his clinic in Northern Virginia, sought and received prescriptions for OxyContin and morphine. One patient received a prescription for 1,600 pills per day, prosecutors alleged. Hurwitz was charged as part of a lengthy multi-jurisdictional probe into OxyContin trafficking that eventually resulted in more than 130 convictions.