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Doctor convicted in Brooklyn for prescribing oxycodone and causing overdose

Prosecutors called him a drug dealer with a prescription pad

July 20, 2018 By Rob Abruzzese, Legal Editor Brooklyn Daily Eagle
A Manhattan doctor could serve life in prison after being found guilty of causing an overdose and prescribing opioids to five patients without medical purpose. Photo courtesy the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration
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Following a two-week trial, a Manhattan doctor was convicted in Brooklyn’s federal court of causing the overdose death of a patient in a jury trial in front of U.S. District Judge Raymond J. Dearie on Wednesday.

Dr. Martin Tesher, who is 83 years old, was convicted by a federal jury of 10 counts of unlawful distribution of oxycodone without legitimate medical purpose to five patients. One of those patients died as a result of the prescription just two days after his last visit with Tesher.

“Dr. Tesher dispensed opioids to patients whom he knew were abusing illegal drugs and the tragic result was an overdose death,” stated U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Richard Donoghue. “Today, the jury held Dr. Tesher responsible for the part he played in fueling the opioid epidemic by abandoning his responsibilities as a medical professional and for acting as a drug dealer with a prescription pad.”

Between June 2013 and January 2017, Tesher, whose Upper East Side practice specialized in general family care, prescribed oxycodone and fentanyl to patients even if he learned or had reason to believe those patients had a drug addiction.

The five patients cited in the charges had either told him that they had a drug addiction, or tested positive for illegal drugs such as cocaine and heroin during their treatment, according to court documents.

Nicholas Benedetto, a 27-year-old, tested positive for cocaine, heroin, methadone, oxycodone and fentanyl while under Tesher’s care, according to court documents.  He was found dead of a fatal combination of oxycodone and fentanyl on March 5, 2016, just two days after he received a prescription from Tesher.

During the trial, prosecutors called an expert witness that testified that there was no medical condition that required Tesher to prescribe any of those five patients with Schedule II opioids.

Tesher’s medical license was revoked immediately upon conviction. He is still facing three lawsuits for medical malpractice.

Tesher will be sentenced to a minimum of 20 years to life in prison.


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