Psychiatrist charged with issuing prescriptions for controlled substances without conducting patient exams

February 25, 2013

Boca Raton psychiatrist James Cocores was concerned about his patients’ vacation and New Year’s Eve plans and even spent time talking with them about cooking — but not about their symptoms before allegedly prescribing them pain pills, local authorities say.

The 59-year-old’s actions recently caused the Florida Department of Health to place an emergency suspension order on his license, which immediately suspends his license to practice medicine. His actions also caused him to spend almost one day in jail on charges of drug trafficking and writing unlawful prescriptions.

Palm Beach County sheriff’s investigators began looking into the psychiatrist in February 2011 when Crime Stoppers of Palm Beach County received a tip that Cocores was prescribing pain medications to patients without examining them.

Cocores, who used to work at Southcoast Psychotherapy & Education Associates, specialized in drug abuse treatment and opiate addiction.

He opened his own practice where an undercover agent met with him at least nine times from August 2011 to April 2012. The agent told Cocores she was having difficulties after her sibling was removed from life support due to a traffic crash.

The agent said she was already seeing another doctor for pain management but could not obtain her medical records from him because the federal Drug Enforcement Administration shut his office down and seized all his patients’ files.

Cocores then spoke with the agent about doctors inappropriately prescribing oxycodone.

The two met seven times before the agent was prescribed oxycodone pills. Before that Cocores allegedly prescribed her Xanax and Percocet pills without ever examining her. While the agent kept asking for the oxycodone pills, Cocores blamed high prices and the scrutiny surrounding the pill.

However on the seventh visit in February 2012, the agent complained of an upset stomach from the Percocet to which Cocores prescribed 75 oxycodone pills. He told her to come back in one month.

Cocores was released from the Palm Beach County Jail today after posting a $35,000 bond.

Source: Alexandra Seltzer, "State suspends Boca Raton psychiatrist’s license for writing unlawful prescriptions," Palm Beach Post, February 22, 2013.


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