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S. Jersey psychiatrist's license suspended over opioid prescriptions

Joel B. Glass is the first physician to be cited by the medical board for violating the state's Prescription Monitoring Program. One patient received such a volume of opioids that taking it all would have killed him, the Attorney General's office said.

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A South Jersey psychiatrist's medical license has been temporarily suspended after authorities accused him of prescribing painkillers to two patients without first checking their prescription histories as required by state law, authorities announced Wednesday.

Joel B. Glass, 74, who had a practice in Marlton, Burlington County, has been ordered by the State Board of Medical Examiners to turn over his medical license and to stop practicing medicine and writing prescriptions.

Glass is the first physician to be cited by the board for violating regulations under the state's Prescription Monitoring Program, which was designed to stop the abuse of prescription drugs, according to the New Jersey Attorney General's Office. As of mid-November, prescribers have been required to check the program's database — on a quarterly basis for existing patients — to examine the prescription histories for patients before they issue or refill prescriptions for schedule II painkillers.

Glass allegedly prescribed one patient, a 42-year-old man, large amounts of highly addictive substances such as oxycodone and diazepam for several years, according to an administrative complaint filed against him by the AG's Office following an investigation by the the state Division of Consumer Affairs and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. Many of the prescriptions were filled in Vermont. Glass continued to prescribe the drugs even after several monitoring agencies and peer reviews flagged the man's dosages as excessive or inappropriate, authorities said.

"The patient could not have taken all the drugs allegedly prescribed to him by this doctor and survived," Attorney General Christopher Porrino said in a statement. "Our message to these doctors is clear; if you are not checking the PMP database, as required by the new law, we will take swift and punitive action against you."

In a second case, Glass is alleged to have prescribed "dramatically high quantities" of oxycodone to a 43-year-old woman without documenting any physical or diagnostic tests, authorities said.

Attempts to reach Glass or an attorney representing him were not immediately successful. Glass' license is suspended until the conclusion of proceedings in the complaint against him or by further order of the board.

Pennsylvania last year launched its Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, which requires certain prescriptions to be reported to a statewide database no later than the close of the subsequent business day, and allows medical providers to check for evidence that their patients may be abusing or selling drugs.

New Jersey's drug-monitoring program mandates that every practitioner who is able to prescribe controlled substances must register with the system.