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Dentist accused of taking patients’ medicine to feed his addiction

November 14, 1997

BRISTOL, Conn. (AP) _ Mark Decker had recently had a tooth pulled when to his delight _ and shock _ his dentist made a house call to check up on him.

``I came to work the next day praising what a good dentist this guy was,″ Decker said. ``He took his own time to come to my house to check and see how I was doing. I had my mother quit her dentist and go to him _ I was so impressed with him.″

Imagine Decker’s surprise when the dentist was accused of swapping his patients’ prescription painkillers and amphetamines _ sometimes for aspirin _ to feed his own habit.

Dr. W. Stephen Randall, 41, was charged last week with 22 counts of misrepresentation of a controlled substance and four counts of illegally prescribing a controlled substance. The case involved 20 patients.

Randall was arrested in March after a sting operation. Court proceedings were delayed because Randall was getting inpatient drug treatment, his lawyer, Arnold Klau, told authorities.

Klau did not return calls from The Associated Press Thursday.

Randall dropped in on Decker in January and took his prescriptions into a bathroom, saying he had to prepare an antibiotic injection. He administered the injection and left.

Police later found that some of the generic Valium that Randall had prescribed for Decker had been replaced with an anti-anxiety drug.

Once Randall stopped midway into a root-canal operation and sent a patient, her mouth still full of gauze, to a pharmacy to get drugs, according to a police affidavit released this week. He then took her painkiller and gave her over-the-counter acetaminophen, the papers said.

The sting operation caught Randall in the act, police Sgt. Peter Barton said.

``We witnessed him switching the prescription medication in his car,″ Barton said. ``He gave back the altered medication and then we moved in and arrested him.″

In May, the state Department of Health suspended Randall’s license pending a hearing.

Decker, who for years was skittish about going to dentists, said that at the time of Randall’s arrest, he had partially completed three root-canal procedures. He still has not mustered the courage to get them finished.

``I know I have to find another dentist and go back again, but now I’m thinking ‘Oh boy. I sure know how to pick ’em,‴ he said.

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