LAS VEGAS (KXNT) – A medical assistant for a a pain management specialist was sentenced Tuesday to 20 years in prison for distribution of large quantities of highly addictive prescription opioids, including oxycodone, and other controlled substances without a medical purpose, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Steven W. Myhre for the district of Nevada.
After a 10-week jury trial that ended in March, 58 year old David A. Litwin, was found guilty of conspiracy to distribute controlled substances and distribution of controlled substances. Co-defendant 93 year old Dr. Henri Wetselaar, was also found guilty and was sentenced to 10 years in prison. United States District Judge Kent J. Dawson presided over both sentencing hearings.
According to the indictment, Wetselaar performed house calls and maintained a medical practice on the east side of Las Vegas. He prescribed large amounts of prescription drugs, including oxycodone, hydrocodone, Xanax and Soma, to people for no legitimate medical reason. Litwin and Wetselaar conspired with each other and local drug dealers to distribute the prescription drugs prescribed by Wetselaar in and around Las Vegas.
The case was investigated by the DEA, FBI, IRS-Criminal Investigations, the Nevada Department of Public Safety, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD), the U.S. Department of Labor-OIG, and the U.S. Human and Health Services-OIG. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Cristina D. Silva and Andrew Duncan.
The overdose rates for synthetic opioids and pain relievers have continued to rise over the past several years. According the the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are 144 drug overdose deaths every day and 63 percent of those deaths are pharmaceutical opioids or heroin related. About 75 percent of new heroin users report having abused prescription opioids before using heroin. Heroin related overdose deaths have more than quadrupled since 2010.