Feds: Metro Detroit doctor sold thousands of doses of painkillers to friend
A Grosse Pointe Shores doctor was sentenced Thursday to a year and a day in prison for selling large quantities of hydrocodone and diazepam, the generic equivalents of Vicodin and Valium, to a woman who was his friend.
Salvatore Cavaliere, 58, was sentenced by U.S. District George Caram Steeh after pleading guilty to one count of unlawful possession with intent to distribute controlled substances, acting U.S. Attorney Saima Mohsin announced Friday.
In his guilty plea, Cavaliere admitted to selling his friend hydrocodone in manufacturer’s bottles, up to 2,000 dosage units at a time, as well as diazepam in amounts of up to 600 dosage units per month, Mohsin's office said.
He admitted responsibility, the office said in a Friday release, for unlawfully selling a total of 42,000 dosage units of hydrocodone and diazepam as part of the pattern of illegal conduct.
The conduct, Mohsin's office said, continued for years, with the defendant "providing
her hydrocodone even when she texted him she was sick, out of pills, and would have to go to a drug treatment program if he did not provide her more pills."
Hydrocodone and diazepam, the U.S. Attorney's office noted, must be prescribed by a doctor only for a legitimate medical purpose.
"Instead of helping her with drug treatment, he wrote her a prescription for more pills," the news release noted. "Eventually the friend sought treatment for her drug addiction on her own and stopped obtaining drugs from the defendant."
About 18 months later, she died of a massive prescription drug overdose, Mohsin's office noted.
At sentencing, the defense requested probation and community service for Cavaliere, but Steeh ruled that a sentence within the advisory guideline range of 12-18 months was necessary.