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Pain Doctor's Trial: The Drug Dealers

Approximately 15 convicted drug dealers, many related to each other, testified against their former doctor.

<ro><b>Bret Dwayne McCarter, 39</b>

<lst>Before visits to Dr. William E. Hurwitz, Bret Dwayne McCarter would smoke crack "so I could look straightened out when I made an appearance."

McCarter, 39, whose street names were "Mav" and "Maverick," was sentenced to 188 months in federal prison for conspiracy to distribute OxyContin.

"The money was so unimaginable," testified McCarter, who paid up to $20,000 a month to fill prescriptions from Hurwitz at a time he wasn't legally employed.

"There were so many people that became addicted. They were in great demand, I assume they still are," testified McCarter, who lived in hotels much of the time he was Hurwitz's patient from December 1998 to May 2002. "I had people pounding on the door, begging and crying for one pill to get them better."

McCarter, who had failed back surgery and five rods and tubes in his back after falling from scaffolding on a construction job, requested early refills from Hurwitz 45 times and tested positive for cocaine five times, starting on Nov. 17, 2001. "He would chastise me like a child and told me all the reasons I shouldn't take it — how harmful it was to take with narcotics — then he'd give me more prescriptions."

From 1998-2002, Hurwitz issued McCarter prescriptions for 68,700 OxyContin pills and 59,550 Dilaudid pills, up to 1,500 OxyContin pills a month at times.

In early 2002, McCarter testified that Hurwitz confronted him about selling pills. "I thought ‘This is it for sure, he knows who I am, I'm going to lose my pill connection.’ … At the end, he would always continue writing the prescriptions."

Hurwitz testified that he tried to taper down his "high-dose patient" after his first positive cocaine screen, and monitored McCarter's situation with more frequent visits. Hurwitz testified that abrupt termination of any patient dependent on pain medication is a "form of torture."

McCarter was arrested June 3, 2002. "It's very difficult to remember everything that went on those days," he testified. Since his arrest and incarceration, "It's been like a 360-degree turnaround."

<ro><b>Timothy Urbani, 34</b>

<lst>Dr. William E. Hurwitz confronted Timothy Urbani about a dirty drug screen in Dec. 2001, three months after Urbani became a patient. When Hurwitz told Urbani he was going to prescribe a medication to help taper Urbani down from his prescription for OxyContin, Urbani testified that he cussed out the doctor and stormed out.

"One hour later, he called and said he didn't want to end it like this," Urbani testified.

Two weeks later, Urbani failed another drug screen. "He let off the throttle in raising hell with me," testified Urbani, who was sentenced 20 years for charges involving distribution of OxyContin, a robbery of OxyContin from a pharmacy and arson. "We've got more like a close friendship now, it was like a buddy thing."

Urbani made $100,000 a month, he testified, selling portions of 35-40, 80-miligram OxyContin pills per day that he was prescribed by Hurwitz.

"I think he enjoyed it. I think he lived vicariously through us," Urbani said. "He wanted to live the tough life, too."

Urbani wore a wire to Hurwitz's office on May 23, May 29 and June 12, June 19 and June 27,2002.

"Well, were you selling? You were selling my medicine?" Hurwitz asked on the June 27 tapes.

"Well, I mean, to try to get things filled," Urbani replied.

"Ah, Timmy, you're, you're …”

"Ah, I know.”

"That's not good," Hurwitz said.

Urbani was incarcerated a couple weeks later.

<ro><b>Husband and Wife</b>

<lst>Kevin Leroy Fuller, 42 and Cynthia Densie Horn, 43

Despite the trouble both men face, Kevin Leroy Fuller, 42, and defendant Dr. William E. Hurwitz, 59, smiled at each other as Hurwitz's former patient, flanked by Sheriff’s deputies, walked past the defendant's table following Fuller's testimony as the government's first witness on Thursday, Nov. 4.

"He was concerned about me and my wife," testified Fuller, who was sentenced to 188 months in jail for conspiracy to distribute OxyContin. "Dr. Hurwitz is always concerned."

Fuller, who first started seeing pain doctors following three knee surgeries in 1985, 1987 and 1991, testified he made a $229,000 profit by selling portions of his prescribed pills in one month from March 26, 2001 to April 30, 2001. "I've always sold pills, had to pay for it up front, OxyContin is expensive," Fuller said.

Fuller first saw Hurwitz on Aug. 4, 1998, at Hurwitz's office on Swinks Mill Road. "I heard he was 'The Man,' the doctor who would help you get what you need. I was more addicted to going to doctors than I was to the pills," Fuller said.

On cross-examination, Fuller admitted he had "played a lot of doctors" over the years. He called Hurwitz naive, but also "a friend."

"I had a lot of pain, but I exaggerated it, trying to get the drugs," testified Fulle.

"He kept asking me if I was a drug addict," Fuller said. "I think he didn't want to kick me out. I had problems. Everyone has problems."

Fuller's common-law wife, Cynthia Denise Horn, 43, was the third witness to testify against Hurwitz. At the time of her July 8, 2002 arrest for conspiracy to distribute OxyContin, Hurwitz was writing her prescriptions for 30, 160-milligram OxyContin pills per day, 80 times the amount she said she could get from other doctors.

Horn went through detox from OxyContin in jail.

"After I got off the pills, I felt like I was 18 again," testified Horn, who said she called Hurwitz from jail a few weeks after her arrest. "I told him he needed to stop giving OxyContin to people. It was destroying their lives."