DuBois, PA – In part of a statewide opioid crackdown, a DuBois doctor is facing felony charges for prescribing drugs that led to a fatal overdose.
Starting in April 2015, 68-year-old Henry Dela Torre prescribed fentanyl and oxycodone to two patients who he knew were struggling with addiction. Both of those patients overdosed on the medication, and one of the overdoses was fatal.
Dela Torre is charged with violations of the Controlled Substances Act, Medicaid fraud, and other related crimes.
The investigation started when one of the patients, Rachel Shumaker, fatally overdosed in August of 2016. Just one month later, her brother, Randal Shumaker, also overdosed but was able to be revived. Both were known to already be addicted to opioids, and both were still prescribed the drugs by Dela Torre.
An independent review of Dela Torre’s practice in DuBois found that it “fell below to standard of care for any reasonable physician.”
Dela Torre was arrested Thursday. His bail is set at $150,000. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Feb. 21.
Attorney General Josh Shapiro, who headed up the statewide investigation, says studies show that 80 percent of heroin users began their drug abuse by using prescription drugs.
Last year, the Office of the Attorney General charged 2,166 people for illegally diverting prescription pills, which is an increase of 72 percent since 2016.