DuBois, PA – The court case continues for a DuBois-area doctor who is facing felony charges for prescribing drugs that led to a fatal overdose.
Starting in April of 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.
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 the standard of care for any reasonable physician.”
Dela Torre is charged with felonies for administration of a controlled substance by a practitioner and submitting claims or referring improper service. He also faces misdemeanors for selling or giving a controlled substance to a dependent person.
Dela Torre is free on $150,000 unsecured bail. The case continues to work its way through the Jefferson County Court of Common Pleas.
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.
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