Fla. Doctor Charged With Manslaughter in Overdose Death - NBC New York
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Fla. Doctor Charged With Manslaughter in Overdose Death

NBC 6 was there when federal agents arrested Dr. Marta Elena Farinas for manslaughter after one of her patients overdosed on oxycodone

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    Doctor Arrested for Manslaughter in Overdose Death

    Marta Elena Farinas is facing manslaughter and other charges after one of her patients died of an opioid overdose. NBC 6's Dan Krauth reports.

    (Published Wednesday, May 8, 2019)

    A South Florida doctor is facing manslaughter and other charges after one of her patients died of an opioid overdose, authorities said.

    Dr. Marta Elena Farinas, 48, was booked into the Miami-Dade jail Tuesday on charges of manslaughter, conspiracy to traffic in oxycodone and delivery of oxycodone, records showed.

    NBC 6 Investigators were there when agents with the Drug Enforcement Administration took Farinas into custody at her office off South Dixie Highway in Palmetto Bay Tuesday.

    Federal agents escorted the doctor out from her second floor office in handcuffs and transported her to the County Jail, where she was being held on a $100,000 bond Wednesday. Attorney information wasn't available.

    According to a news release from Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody, the victim was found unresponsive when Monroe County deputies responded to a call in Key Largo back on March 13. Deputies found a prescription bottle of oxycodone on the nightstand next to the victim's bed with a label that indicated Farinas has prescribed the medication a day earlier, officials said.

    A toxicology report found that the cause of death involved the mixture of alprazolam and oxycodone, authorities said. The victim was a nurse and mother of two.

    Prosecutors say Dr. Farinas "overprescribed" oxycodone prescriptions for the patient, who had "no legitimate medical purpose" for having the drug. Court documents showed Farinas often prescribed 120 to 180 pills at a time for the patient.

    Dr. Marta Farinas
    Photo credit: Miami-Dade Corrections

    Not only did Farinas prescribe high amounts of oxycodone for patients, prosecutors said the doctor’s patient would then give a portion of the pills back to the doctor to feed her own addiction and to sell to others. A doctor cannot prescribe pain meds for themselves.

    Court documents showed the patient would communicate with the doctor and ask for pills through text messages. Those texts also appear to show the doctor asking for pills back in return for the prescription.

    Prosecutors said the doctor’s boyfriend also overdosed in May of 2018. Police said Farinas had prescribed drugs to her boyfriend and some of his friends.

    A latest report from the Florida Department of Health shows oxycodone deaths decreased by 16 percent from 2016 to 2017. In 2017, 1,282 people died statewide due to an oxycodone related death. Many of those were found to have a mixture of drugs in their systems. In 2017, 197 people died in Miami Dade, Broward and Monroe Counties.

    Farinas' arrest took place after a year-long investigation between the DEA, the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office and Miami-Dade Police.