Saturday, 2:15 PM
Trooper allegedly obtained thousands of pills
By Martin Finucane, Globe Staff
A 39-year-old state trooper charged with obtaining prescription painkillers under false pretenses was able to get more than 50,000 pills and patches over a seven-year period, Suffolk County prosecutors said.
Edward McCormack, who pleaded not guilty at his arraignment today in Suffolk Superior Court, allegedly sought prescriptions from doctors without informing them that he had obtained the same medications recently from other doctors, in violation of a state law that forbids "doctor shopping."
McCormack allegedly obtained approximately 50,868 pills and patches from 14 doctors, prosecutors said in a statement filed with the court. McCormack has not been charged with distributing the medications.
"It's a sad case and it demonstrates the power of addiction," Daniel F. Conley, the Suffolk district attorney, said in a statement. "At the same time, though, these actions are criminal; we're looking at a very large number of very powerful painkillers that could impair anyone’s judgment, and they were obtained through deception."
McCormack's lawyer, Thomas Drechsler, said his client has medical problems and received appropriate treatment.
"There's nothing about the government's case with which we agree," he said. "My client certainly suffered a number of medical conditions for which, our position is, he received treatment consistent with those conditions. He specifically denies ever misrepresenting his condition to anyone or misrepresenting any facts at all."
David Procopio, a State Police spokesman, said McCormack joined the force in 2002 and worked out of the Belchertown barracks. McCormack had been on medical leave or personal leave from April 2005 to April 2008. The statement filed by prosecutors indicated that McCormack had injured his back during the time he worked as a correction officer and reinjured it at the police academy.
The agency began an internal affairs probe of McCormack a little over a year ago, and it became a criminal investigation in March. McCormack was suspended without pay in April because of the investigation, Procopio said.
"Edward McCormack's alleged behavior is not indicative of the vast majority of state troopers. The vast majority conduct themselves with honor and integrity. In those rare instances when a department member does not do so, we'll take appropriate action, as evidenced by this case," he said.
McCormack faces one charge of using a false prescription and 18 counts of fraudulently obtaining controlled substances. The drugs he allegedly obtained included oxycodone and hydrocodone and other similar drugs, such as endocet, tramadol, and fentanyl, according to court documents.
McCormack was released on his own personal recognizance after appearing before Clerk Magistrate Robin Vaughan.