Dracut Doc Whose Opioid Prescriptions Allegedly Led to Patient’s Death is Arraigned
DRACUT -- The Dracut doctor who according to Attorney General Maura Healey allegedly illegally prescribed opoids that resulted in an at-risk patient’s death was released on personal recognizance Thursday morning at Middlesex Superior Court.
Dr. Richard Miron, 76, of Dracut, pleaded not guilty at his brief arraignment before Assistant Clerk Magistrate Michelle Goldman. He remained straight-faced as his charges were read aloud.
The doctor was indicted earlier this month by a Middlesex County grand jury on 23 counts of illegal prescribing of controlled substances, 23 counts of filing false Medicaid claims, and one count of involuntary manslaughter.
Miron’s release came with two conditions: no overnight travel outside the state without permission and he must sign a waiver of rendition and he may not apply for a passport.
Assistant Attorney General Steven Hoffman spoke on behalf of the state and Miron was represented by Jay Lee, a lawyer with the Lowell firm of Gallagher & Cavanaugh.
The AG’s Office alleges Miron was responsible for the death of his patient, Michelle Craib, 50, on March 17, 2016. The Office of the chief medical examiner determined the woman’s death was caused by acute intoxication from the combined effects of fentanyl, morphine, codeine and butalbital, all prescribed by Miron.
The AG’s Office on Thursday released Craib’s identity in a statement of the case. According to the statement, Craib was found dead in her apartment in Lowell. Responders found two fentanyl patches attached to her abdomen and police found many prescription bottles at the scene, including morphine, oxycodone, and Fioricet with codeine, all prescribed by Miron.
“The post-mortem toxicology is entirely consistent with the opioids prescribed by Dr. Miron,” the statement of the case reads.
Miron was represented by Jay Lee, a lawyer with the Lowell-based law firm of Gallagher & Cavanaugh.
A statement released by the firm at 1 p.m. Thursday read, in part, “Dr. Miron is a well-respected medical professional who, after training and serving five years inthe U.S. Army, practiced Internal Medicine for nearly a half-century - in Chelmsford, Lowell, and Dracut - before retiring earlier this year. During those five decades, Dr. Miron worked very hardto provide exemplary care and treatment to hundreds of area residents, never once being the subjectof a complaint in front of the Massachusetts Board of Registration of Medicine or any other forum previous to this matter. While we certainly respect the A.G.’s Office, we must emphasize that Dr. Miron vehemently denies the allegations made against him.”
The attorney general began investigating the doctor in September 2017 after the matter was referred by MassHealth. Miron was the largest provider of high-dose, short-acting oxycodone prescriptions of all MassHealth care providers across the state from September 2015 to February 2016. MassHealth terminated the doctor from its program in September 2017.
In a phone interview with The Sun last week, Healey said the opioid epidemic itself must be combated from different angles.
“It’s a public health crisis and it remains a top priority of my office,” Healey said of the opioid crisis. “With respect to prescribers, the vast majority of prescribers are good and trying to do the right thing. This is not about them. This is about rooting out the outliers who have been contributing to the crisis through illegal prescribing.”
Miron is due again in court on Jan. 29, 2019.
This is a developing story
Follow Amaris Castillo on Twitter @AmarisCastillo.