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“DEA Decisions: In the Matter of Roy S. Schwartz, D.D.S”

DEA Chronicles By Shannon F. O'Boye

In the Matter of Roy S. Schwartz, D.D.S (June 16, 2014) DEA suspended for one year the DEA registration of a Tacoma, Washington dentist with more than 50 years experience after he admitted “sharing” his DEA number with another dentist who performed conscious sedation, and who had previously surrendered his DEA registration for cause. DEA also ordered the dentist to complete a course in controlled substance record-keeping. The Show Cause Order alleged that the dentist, Roy S. Schwartz, obtained controlled substances for another dentist, Raymond Wilkinson, with whom he shared office space. Wilkinson, in turn, used the drugs to perform conscious sedation in Schwartz’s office, at other dentists’ offices, and at the University of Washington’s Periodontics Clinic. Conscious sedation is the use of a combination of medicines that help a patient relax and block pain during a medical or dental procedure. The Washington State Department of Health launched an investigation after receiving complaints that Wilkinson had used expired fentanyl and ketamine on patients. Schwartz admitted that his secretary ordered the other dentist whatever controlled substances he needed and that Schwartz signed off on the orders. He stated that the drugs were given directly to the other dentist and that the other dentist was responsible for the record-keeping of the drugs. Wilkinson kept the drugs in a locked case in an unlocked cabinet in his office. DEA Deputy Administrator Thomas M. Harrigan, in his June 2014 order, concluded that Schwartz’s continued registration was inconsistent with the public interest. Harrigan found that Schwartz unlawfully distributed controlled substances to the other dentist, in violation of the Controlled Substances Act and DEA regulations, by using his DEA number to order the drugs and allowing them to be delivered, stored, and handled by the other dentist. While this technically was diversion because the other dentist was unregistered and outside the close system of distribution, according to Deputy Administrator Harrigan, there was no evidence that the drugs were administered to patients other than in the course of legitimate dental treatment. Schwartz also was found to have violated numerous DEA record-keeping requirements, including those in 21 U.S.C. §§ 827(a)(1); 827(a)(3); 842(a)(5); and 21 C.F.R. § 1304.11(b); 1304.21(a); 1304.22(b). The Government had requested that Schwartz’s registration be revoked. However, despite the fact that Schwartz’s statements showed that he had not accepted responsibility for his conduct and that DEA had a strong interest in deterring similar conduct by other registrants, Deputy Administrator Harrigan only suspended Schwartz’s registration for one year. He cited Schwartz’s lack of previous controlled substances misconduct in more than 50 years of practice and Wilkinson’s use of the drugs to provide “legitimate dental treatment” as mitigating factors.