MELVILLE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — David Laffer and his wife Melinda Brady got nearly 12,000 pills in a four year period by “doctor shopping” before they turned to murder and robbery, according to a report.

Dr. Thomas Jan, a Massapequa Park addiction specialist and member of a Nassau County drug abuse task force, tells 1010 WINS reporter Mona Rivera the problem is that doctors often don’t check a state database which tracks prescriptions.

1010 WINS’ Mona Rivera reports

“I have a patient right now who called up to say his current medication isn’t working,” Jan said. “No problem, I’m going to run his name through the database before I take any actions.”

The New York State Health Department operates the database.

“The number of doctors who are using this system is a fraction of the overall number that could be using it,” spokesman Jeffrey Gordon said.

The department is proposing that pharmacists be allowed to check the state database as well.

A Newsday probe cited state records which showed Laffer and Brady were prescribed 11,881 pills by visiting medical professionals as many as 11 times a month from June 2007 through June 2011.

Laffer and Brady both pleaded guilty in September to a deadly robbery at Haven Drugs in Medford on Father’s Day which left four people dead.

Laffer, 33, was sentenced last week to five consecutive life terms for the deaths of each of the victims plus an umbrella charge for multiple murders.

Brady was sentenced to 25 years in prison after admitting to helping plan the robbery and driving the getaway car, but claimed she didn’t know the plan would involve killing.

The victims were 45-year-old pharmacist Raymond Ferguson, Jennifer Mejia, a 17-year-old store clerk due to graduate high school days later, Jamie Taccetta, a 33-year-old mother of two who was planning her wedding, and 71-year-old Bryon Sheffield, who was picking up medication for his wife. Sheffield and his wife were planning their 50th wedding anniversary in July.

Sound off in our comments section below…

Comments (3)
  1. G. Thomas says:

    The inhumane comment Laffer made during his sentencing, referring to the epidemic of prescription narcotics being to blame, may have seemed cruel and to lack ownership for his actions. There’s no question he has demonstrated the propensity for uncontrollable and desperate acts of violence, however, even good people do things totally out of character after only a few days of being on prescription pain medications.

    With the stigma of “if my doctor prescribed it it must be safe” out there, it opens the door to family members and friends feeling the same about taking medications not prescribed for them. Statistics don’t lie, more than 40 people per day die due to presciption opioid overdoses. Unfortunatley, these drugs are easily obtained from pain management, psychiatry, orthopedic, obgyn, internal medicine, and primary care physicians. The illicit drug epidemic (cocaine, marijuana, heroin) has been overtaken by the something that started with a pen, a prescription pad, and good intentions for treating patients in need of pain relief. It is a sad day when people take oxycodone instead of advil for a headache, that day is here and started years ago.

    Doctors should be more carefully and extensively certified to prescribe these medications, a DEA prescribing license is easier to obtain than a citizenship. Additionally, the influx press regarding this epidemic, and this gruesome, murderous anomoly, should have made physicians more careful, especially on Long Island. Please comment if you too have witnessed any changes from your doctor’s prescribing habits, I know of only one doctor who has made significant changes, but he’s always been vigiliant, as a result he’s quoted above. The bottom line is people who don’t need these medications are getting them, when they finally get cut off they go into a wild, withdrawal rampage that allows them the unremorseful abilities to commit unspeakable acts against the good people of their communities. I won’t speak about the monetary gains that many who obtain and sell their prescriptions profit from because this is about people who use them.

    Raymond Ferguson, Jennifer Mejia, Jamie Taccetta,Bryon Sheffield… you will always be remembered. To your families, we wish you strength, endurance, peace, and our deepest condolences. Long Island… don’t let this memory fade and do something about it, urge your senators, your congressmen and women, and local authorities to push for better tracking of controlled substance prescriptions. Make law that every doctor must look up a new patient’s history of prescriptions before they write an addictive prescription and contribute to another drug seeker’s dream. Find a way to make Long Island safer for our youth, find a way to make Long Island safer for all of us.

  2. Yogi Corzine says:

    She isn’t human, and neither is he. That’s why.

  3. DanTe says:

    She took 12,000 pills within 4 yrs and it didn’t kill her?

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