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Prosecutors: L.I. Doctor Charged After 2 Patients Die From Oxycodone Overdose

Victims' Families Lash Out At Accused Dr. William Conway Of Baldwin
Prescription painkillers (file/credit: CBS 2)

Prescription painkillers (file/credit: CBS 2)

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MINEOLA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Stunning charges have been levied against a doctor accused of causing the deaths of two of his patients.

In a federal indictment, the Long Island physician is charged with over-prescribing deadly doses of OxyContin.

CBS 2’s Jennifer McLogan spoke to victims’ families and learned of staggering numbers in the war on prescription drugs in the suburbs.

“They told me, ‘Your doctor was arrested.’ I lay down on the floor, and I kissed the ground, and I cried, and I kept saying ‘Thank God,’” said Maria Basmas, whose son overdosed, allegedly at the hands of Dr. William Conway, 69.

WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall reports

Basmas said justice is bittersweet. The shrine she has created to her son, Christopher, also contains the photo of the medical doctor now charged in his death. Basmas had been fighting for that day since October when her son was found here dead in his bed, with hundreds of oxycodone pills on his nightstand, prescribed for mild headaches by Dr. Conway of Baldwin.

“I spoke to him when he killed my son. I call him, ‘cause I found the prescriptions next to the bed where my son was found dead. My son was carried out in body bag. I said, ‘You killed my son.’ He said ‘I don’t know what I was doing.’ I said, ‘Dr. Conway, you wrote a prescription for 180 pills,’” Basmas said.

EXTRA: Read The Superseding Indictment (pdf)

Conway has maintained his innocence, but faces 20 years to life for his alleged role in Christopher Basmas’ death, as well as a second OxyContin overdose patient from Long Beach. Conway and 98 others were arrested in June in a major federal crackdown in the wake of last year’s Medford pharmacy massacre when a pill-popping addict gunned down four people in cold blood.

Conway has been in custody since his June arrest on charges of issuing more than 780,000 pills in less than two years to drug addicts, without a medical examination, WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall reported.

Now, as death charges against the medical doctor have gained nationwide publicity, Nassau County has revealed results from its year-long drug task force study:

* 82 percent increase in prescriptions for oxycodone

* 60 percent increase in admissions to drug treatment centers

* 52 percent increase in drug related deaths.

“When Dennis died this past Christmas Eve, we found him in our bathroom at 5 o’clock in the morning,” Donna Hickey said.

Hickey said she told the task force her son was never able to get over the death of his FDNY hero father on 9/11.

“The availability of the drugs to these children today is a sin. It’s just a real sin. Dennis never wrapped his head around his dad’s death. He was 18 years old,” Donna Hickey said.

After the deaths of two of his patients, federal prosecutors allege Dr. Conway attempted to alter patient files, while continuing to issue prescriptions for controlled substances to individuals he never treated, or even met.

Federal prosecutors said the charges unsealed in Friday’s indictment against the doctor “reflect the tragic consequences of drug trafficking and abuse.”

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