Drug investigation of dentist detailed
A tip leads to a probe into the prescription of powerful painkillers
The state Narcotic Enforcement Division investigated Oahu dentist Dr. Jay Adam Cambra for nearly two years before charging him with prescribing powerful painkillers to patients who would then turn the drugs over to him.
The state charged Cambra last month with seven counts of prohibited acts related to controlled substances for allegedly failing to keep records of prescriptions to patients and four counts of obtaining a controlled substance by fraud. All of the charges are class C felonies punishable by up to five years in prison and $10,000 fine.
The state also charged Cambra with promoting a detrimental drug in the third degree, a petty misdemeanor, pertaining to a bag of marijuana allegedly found in Cambra's desk during a raid of his Mililani office in December 2006.
Cambra, 40, pleaded not guilty to the charges Monday in state court. His trial is scheduled for September. He remains free on $11,000 cash bail.
The state started investigating Cambra in October 2006 after it received a call from a pharmacist in Mililani who said Cambra had been prescribing larger than normal quantities of pain medication to several of his patients on a frequent basis, according to court records.
The pharmacist also said the prescriptions to some patients were suspicious because they were for Lorcet, a brand of painkiller that contains hydrocodone bitartrate, but they were not accompanied by other medications like antibiotics or anti-inflammatory drugs, as is common with painkiller prescriptions from dentists.
The pharmacist gave the state the names of two patients, the court records said.
One of the patients also worked for Cambra. He told state investigators that Cambra prescribed him Lorcet but that it was for the dentist's own use.
The state also found that on three occasions the other patient picked up two different prescribed drugs at two different Oahu pharmacies on the same day, court records said. The prescriptions were either called in or written by Cambra, according to prosecutors.
According to court records, the second patient agreed to cooperate with the investigation and wore a recording device during two meetings with Cambra. In the recorded conversations Cambra discusses ways the patient can explain why he needed different kinds of pain medication and said it would be easy to do.