A dentist from Williston Park was arrested and charged by federal prosecutors with exchanging prescription opioids with women for sex.
Last Thursday federal prosecutors unsealed an indictment that charges the dentist, Dr. Barry Arnold, 70, with writing illegal prescriptions for oxycodone, a schedule II controlled substance, and Xanax, a schedule IV controlled substance. Arnold pleaded not guilty, according to Newsday.
In a news release, the U.S. attorney’s office for the Eastern District of New York asserted that Arnold, who operated a practice in Valley Stream, exchanged the prescriptions for sexual acts with drug-addicted women.
A grand jury charged Arnold, who was arrested Aug. 25, with 28 counts of distribution of controlled substances. The Department of Justice said that if convicted he faces up to 20 years in prison.
According to Newsday, U.S. Magistrate Judge James Wicks ordered Arnold released on a $200,000 bond to home detention with electronic monitoring. In addition, the dentist must release his DEA registration for prescribing controlled substances, stop performing oral surgery and stop administering nitrous oxide but can still practice, according to the newspaper.
The alleged crimes occurred from 2016 to 2020, when Arnold would engage in the acts with women at his former Lynbrook office, his current dental office in Valley Stream or his Williston Park home, according to officials. Prosecutors said the women were not Arnold’s patients and the prescriptions provided were not for medical purposes.
Jacquelyn M. Kasulis, the acting U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York, said, “As alleged, Dr. Arnold abused his position as a dentist and preyed upon vulnerable, drug-addicted women, trading prescriptions for sex acts.”
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, benzodiazepines such as Xanax are responsible for 16 percent of deaths resulting from opioid overdose in 2019. The institute said that 136 Americans die every day from opioid overdoses.
Ray Donovan, special agent-in-charge for the Drug Enforcement Administration, said, “With a clear disregard for medical integrity, Dr. Arnold allegedly exchanged prescriptions for sex in his office and home. This investigation focused on a dentist abusing his position by proliferating drug abuse and endangering the lives and safety of several women.”
Opioids are used medically to induce morphine-like effects, primarily for pain relief. Common types of opioids include Valium, Xanax, Klonopin and heroin. In the ongoing opioid crisis, the National Institute on Drug Abuse said the economic burden of misusing prescribed opioids totals $78.5 billion a year.
Efforts to reach Evan Sugar, Arnold’s attorney, were unavailing.
Arnold will be prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael J. Bushwack.
Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent-in-Charge Peter C. Fitzhugh said Arnold “is really no different than a street dealer,” according to the Justice Department.