Former ER doctor who wrote fake fentanyl prescriptions sentenced to 2 years in prison
Published Wednesday, April 19, 2017 8:42AM EDT
A former Ontario ER doctor whose personal life and career spiralled downward over opioid addiction has been handed a two-year prison sentence after pleading guilty to trafficking and forging fake prescriptions for fentanyl patches.
Darryl Gebien was handed two years in a federal penitentiary for trafficking and one year for forgery. Gebien will serve his time concurrently.
In December, he pleaded guilty to the charges of forgery and trafficking. Gebien illegally obtained 445 fentanyl patches between August 2013 and November 2014. Most of them were used by Gebien himself. However, approximately 35 patches ended up on the streets, unaccounted for.
Gebien, who was surrounded by family both outside and inside the court on Tuesday, was very emotional, CTV Barrie’s Rob Cooper reported.
His father was given permission to sit by his side as Ontario Justice Joe Wilson handed down the ruling.
The sentence is shorter than the eight years in prison that the Crown had requested, but Justice Wilson told the court that he found Gebien’s “remorse truly genuine.”
In explaining his ruling, Justice Wilson pointed to Gebien’s co-operation after being arrested, his clean record, his guilty plea and the responsibility he’s taken for his actions.
Gebien broke down in tears as the Justice credited him for turning his life around and helping others. “He has the qualities to succeed and move forward in a productive way,” Justice Wilson told the courtroom.
Moments before entering court on Tuesday, Gebien told CTV Barrie that he was prepared for any sentence. “I just want to speak for all the people who are suffering with addiction and their families, to let them know there’s help out there,” he said, adding “regardless of what happens today, there is a good outcome for me. I get my life back.”
Gebien’s lawyer Mitch Eisen told CTV Barrie that it was a very “thoughtful and well-considered decision given the circumstances that my client faced, and given the high sentences the Crown was asking.
“Overall, I’m pleased with what I heard.”
The former ER doctor has said he wants to warn others about the dangers of fentanyl. He became addicted to it in May, 2014, following Percocet abuse. The use of Percocets, which were originally prescribed to him for pain following a back injury in 2008, escalated to fentanyl use, he said.
Fentanyl is a prescription opioid used to treat chronic pain. Its potency is 50-100 times higher than morphine or heroin. Fentanyl abuse has been on the rise in Canada in recent months.
Justice Wilson told the court Tuesday that “fentanyl is a very potent and highly addictive drug. The use of it has caused havoc and hundreds of death in this and other communities in recent years.”
With a report by CTV Barrie’s Rob Cooper