WORCESTER – A local psychiatrist has been found guilty by a federal jury of illegally prescribing controlled substances.
Mohamad Och, 67, was convicted of three counts of unlawful distribution of a controlled substance after an 11 day trial. His sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 16, 2024. Och was initially arrested in July 2021.
“Dr. Och deliberately and recklessly jeopardized patient safety by repeatedly prescribing dangerous combinations of benzodiazepines and stimulants,” said Acting United States Attorney Joshua S. Levy. “This case underscores our office’s unwavering commitment to justice, patient safety and the responsible management of healthcare resources. Ensuring the well-being of patients is paramount.”
Och, who operated the Island Counseling Center in Worcester and practiced psychiatry in various Massachusetts locations, including Nantucket, was authorized to prescribe Schedule II-IV controlled substances.
According to federal prosecutors, evidence revealed that Och prescribed benzodiazepines and stimulants outside the norms of professional practice and without legitimate medical purposes. This included issuing prescriptions for Adderall and Xanax to undercover DEA agents between August 2016 and February 2017. Och allegedly issued prescriptions without proper psychiatric examinations, even when faced with evidence the undercover agenda, posing as patients, may have been participating in drug diversion.
Och also didn’t discuss or review the potential side effects, their symptoms, or the risks or benefits of the drugs, despite documenting that he had.
The charge of illegal prescription of a Schedule II controlled substance provides for a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $1 million. The charge of illegal prescription of a Schedule IV controlled substance provides for a sentence of up to five years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $1 million.