Dr. Wilfred Weinstein
Physician Had An Undetected Years-Long Prescription Drug Habit
LOS ANGELES, CA: In April 2010, Dr. Weinstein was caught shoplifting; when he was searched, police found that he was carrying 291 pills of Oxycodone. Dr. Weinstein was arrested for possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell, a felony. He pled guilty.
Over a year later, in August 2011, the Medical Board began an investigation into Dr. Weinstein’s felony conviction. In an interview, Dr. Weinstein admitted that he had an undetected daily drug habit since 2006: he would begin taking oxycodone as early as 6:30 in the morning before heading into work, and he would often take more pills over his lunch break. Dr. Weinstein told the investigator that he had been taking between six to eight oxycodone a day, including workdays. In order to get access to the drugs, he would write prescriptions in his wife’s name and then fill the prescriptions for himself.
Three years after his initial arrest, the Medical Board finally imposed disciplinary action, placing Dr. Weinstein on probation. Six months into his probation, Dr. Weinstein decided that he didn’t want to practice medicine anymore and surrendered his medical license.
Proposition 46, the Troy and Alana Pack Patient Safety Act, will enact the first law in the nation to require random drug and alcohol tests of physicians in hospitals, modeled after the Federal Aviation Administration testing program that has successfully reduced substance abuse by pilots. Doctors found to be impaired on the job will have their license suspended. If Prop 46 had been in effect, Dr. Weinstein’s drug addiction may have been detected, possibly preventing threats to patient safety in the process.
Prop 46 would also require prescribers to check California’s existing and secure prescription drug database, known as CURES, when prescribing Schedule II-III narcotics. If this provision had been in effect, it’s possible that Dr. Weinstein’s illegal prescribing may have been discovered.
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