Dr. George Blatti was indicted Thursday on murder charges following the fatal opioid overdoses of five of his patients between the years of 2016 and 2018.
Blatti, 75, was accused of writing prescriptions for massive quantities of opioids for patients that were heavily addicted to pain killers, which ultimately led to the endangerment of six lives in addition to the five that were lost due to overdose.
The Long Island doctor initially ran his operation out of an abandoned Radio Shack, but eventually lost access to the property and began seeing patients in the Rockville Centre hotel parking lot (where he lived) and a nearby Dunkin’ Donuts.
Although Blatti was licensed to practice medicine as a general practitioner in 1976, he had no specialized training in pain management and was not accredited to prescribe opioids to the extent that he was doing for several years. According to Thursday’s indictment, Blatti even prescribed the controlled medications to patients that he had never met nor had received a medical history review on. Blatti’s operation remained virtually undetected because he used a paper prescription pad to circumvent New York State’s more secure electronic prescription system. He also billed to patients’ insurance and accepted cash.
The now-defunct doctor was arrested by members of the NCPD Asset Forfeiture and Intelligence Unit and the DEA Long Island District Office Tactical Diversion Squad on April 18, 2019 and arraigned on a 54-count indictment the following October. Blatti was charged with 22 counts of criminal diversion of prescription medications and prescriptions in the fourth degree, two counts of reckless endangerment in the second degree, 22 counts of criminal sale of a prescription for a controlled substance, six counts of forgery in the second degree, and two counts of reckless endangerment in the first degree.
“This doctor’s prescription pad was as lethal as any murder weapon,” District Attorney Madeline Singas said when asked about Blatti’s case. “We allege that Dr. Blatti showed depraved indifference to human life, total disregard for the law, his ethical obligations, and the pleas of his patients and their family members when he prescribed massive quantities of dangerous drugs to victims in the throes of addiction, ultimately killing five patients who entrusted him with their care.”
Blatti pleaded not guilty at Thursday’s arraignment and is scheduled to appear in court on March 30. If convicted on his most serious charge, he may face up to 25 years to life in prison.
“These indictments should send a clear message to all doctors that they will be directly held accountable for their actions as they profit from individuals that are suffering from addiction,” Nassau County Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder said.