Pennsylvania's top opioid prescriber indicted on charges related to 5 patient deaths: 3 things to know

A federal grand jury on Thursday indicted Mount Carmel, Pa.-based family medicine physician Raymond Kraynak, DO, on charges related to the opioid overdose deaths of five patients.

Here are three things to know.

1. Kraynak faces 19 charges related to the unlawful distribution and dispensing of controlled substances, running two drug-related facilities, and contributing to the deaths of five patients between 2013 and 2015 through the unlawful distribution of opioids.

2. The indicted physician operated Keystone Family Medicine Associates, which consists of two offices in Mount Carmel and Shamokin, Pa. From January 2016 through July 2017, Dr. Kraynak prescribed 2.7 million units of oxycodone, hydrocodone, OxyContin and fentanyl at these facilities, making him the state's most prolific prescriber of these drugs over the course of that 19-month period. According to the charges, many of these prescriptions were given without a legitimate medical purpose.

"The sheer number of pills prescribed in this case is staggering," said David Freed, U.S. attorney for the Middle District of Pennsylvania. "Death or serious injury was the inevitable result of this defendant's conduct."

3. For the five charges related to the patient deaths, Dr. Kraynak faces a sentence of 20 years to life in prison. Additionally, the physician faces a maximum of 20 years' imprisonment for each of the 12 counts related to the unlawful distribution of controlled substances and up to 20 years' imprisonment for each of the two charges for maintaining drug-involved facilities.

More articles on opioids: 
Allegheny, UPMC receive millions in grants to address Pennsylvania opioid crisis: 3 things to know 
Opioid deaths fuel dip in US life expectancy for second straight year: 5 things to know 
Tennessee county files federal opioid lawsuit against drug companies

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