WILLIAMSPORT – A woman from Lebanon County said on Monday that she “lost everything” by becoming a patient of the first prescriber of oxycodone in Pennsylvania from 2014 to 2016.
Dawn Smith of Cornwall testified in US Intermediate District Court, said she went from never using drugs, “not even a joint”, to becoming addicted to opioid pain relievers and then to heroin . She attributed the change to Dr. Raymond J. Kraynak, 64, whom she called a drug dealer. Authorities nicknamed him the âpill millâ doctor.
Kraynak, who has offices in Mount Carmel and Shamokin, is on trial on charges of prescribing millions of doses of opioids, including oxycodone and hydrocodone, not for legitimate medical purposes. Five of the charges relate to the illegal distribution and distribution of controlled substances resulting in death.
Smith, who grew up in Ashland, testified that she was concerned about weight gain, and a friend’s mother recommended Kraynak to her.
She told jurors that she was initially prescribed weight loss medication, but after trying an opioid pain reliever obtained by a friend, she was able to get hers by falsely claiming that her tailbone was injured.
The Air Force and Army National Guard veteran said she made excuses to continue to get prescriptions for opioids, including oxycodone and Percocet.
Her dates with Kraynak were brief and she was not examined, Smith said. They would involve small talk and, although he was married, he would show her pictures of his girlfriend, she said.
She would go through a 30-day supply of pills earlier so he would continue to prescribe but for a shorter period, she said. It got to the point that she would see him every five days, she said.
Her relationship with Kraynak began in 2012 and she said she was never asked to take a drug test until her last date in January 2016. She had not done so because that it would be positive, she said.
When she could no longer get the painkillers, Smith said she would buy heroin on the street. She also lived in Mount Carmel and Kulpmont.
This led to her being arrested and spending brief periods in prison. She would go to rehab but relapse, she said.
She is employed as a waitress, has been sober for just over two years and is rebuilding a relationship with her children, she said.
In cross-examination, Smith admitted not following the instructions on the bottle for the use of the pill. “I thought the doctor should have intervened and he didn’t,” she said.
A number of other patients have testified during the trial, which is in its third week, about the prescriptions they got from Kraynak.
Jurors also heard from pharmacists who stopped filling his prescriptions because of their concerns.
On the stand when the court stayed until Tuesday was government expert Dr Stephen M. Thomas, an interventional pain management specialist in Pittsburgh, who reviewed numerous cases seized in Kraynak.
According to him, Kraynak did not follow standard medical procedures when issuing prescriptions, including those given to five patients who died from an overdose.
By not documenting the reason for the prescriptions or the number of pills, he was not doing his job, Thomas said.
Records from Kraynak’s doctors and hospitals showed he was aware of the patients’ medical histories, he said. One of those who died was a documented drug addict, he said.
The State Board of Osteopathic Medicine has suspended Kraynak’s license to practice medicine until the criminal charges are resolved and the state Department of Health revokes his ability to write prescriptions for medical marijuana.
He gave up his license from the Drug Enforcement Administration to distribute controlled substances as a condition of being released on unsecured bail of $ 500,000.
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