A podiatrist with offices in Paterson and Passaic City has been placed on temporary suspension by the State Board of Medical Examiners for his alleged “indiscriminate prescribing” of large quantities of addictive pain killers like Oxycodone and Vicodin to patients for years without any legitimate medical purpose, according to the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office.
Anthony Enrico, Jr. allegedly treated seven patients, five men and two women, between 2011 and 2016 for virtually the same foot and lower leg condition by prescribing large quantities of Oxycodone, Endocet, Percocet, Xanax, Vicodin, Lunesta, Vyvanse, Tylenol with Codeine and Ambien.
Authorities charge Enrico demonstrated gross negligence and endangered the welfare of his patients by treating them with large quantities of opiates knowing there was a strong risk for abuse and diversion of drugs, prescribed narcotics to treat diagnoses where it’s not acceptable form of treatment, failed to asses patients for substance abuse problems, waited a year to check the Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP) to determine if his patients were getting opioid prescriptions from other doctors, failed to refer patients to pain management specialists for evaluation, failed to treat patients for underlying podiatric conditions, practiced outside scope of his podiatry license by prescribing Xanax and Ambien to treat conditions unrelated to podiatry.
“We have made it abundantly clear that we will not allow unscrupulous doctors to fuel New Jersey’s opioid crisis by indiscriminately prescribing painkillers and other narcotics that serve as gateways to addiction,” Attorney General Christopher Porrino said. “The action against Dr. Enrico demonstrates our continued commitment to protecting the public from any doctor suspected of allowing dangerous, habit-forming drugs to flow unchecked into our communities.”
Enrico’s patients in question were ages between 33 and 61, authorities said. In one example, a 51-year-old patient suffering from Morton’s neuroma, a painful condition that affects the ball of one’s foot, was treated for five years with large quantities of addictive pain killers, according to the state’s complaint with the board.
In February, 23, 2011, the doctor was prescribing 60 pills of Oxycodone, 30mg, every 8-10 hours. Authorities also call the diagnoses “questionable” because six of the seven patients had same diagnoses for both feet. Authorities also discovered discrepancies between pharmacy records and the doctor’s office records, according to the state’s complaint with the board.
“The Board’s temporary suspension of Dr. Enrico’s license is a fitting action given the serious nature of the allegations against him,” Steve Lee, director of the Division of Consumer Affairs, said. “By ensuring that this doctor will not treat patients or write prescriptions until this matter is resolved, the Board is fulfilling its duty to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the public.”
Enrico operated from an office on Broadway in Paterson. He also had an office on Main Avenue in Passaic. Enrico’s license will remain suspended pending a full hearing in the Office Office of Administrative Law (OAL) against him and until the board takes final action based on the OAL’s decision, authorities said.