Psychiatrist Daryl Westerback arrested twice in 3 months on suspicion of driving under influence of drugs

June 11, 2013

A Thousand Oaks (California) psychiatrist who was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs twice in three months is being investigated for treating patients while impaired and overprescribing pain killers, according to the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office.

Dr. Daryl Westerback, 55, recently surrendered his Drug Enforcement Administration registration to sheriff’s investigators and can no longer prescribe opiate medications, said Assistant Sheriff Gary Pentis.

Officials said an investigation indicated that he had treated patients while impaired on prescription drugs. In addition, officials found that a man who died of an overdose last March had just seen Westerback and the death is being further investigated, Pentis said.

Westerback specializes on a variety of mental health issues, including post-traumatic stress disorder, schizophrenia and manic depression, according to his website.

He could not be reached for comment Tuesday. The California Medical Board lists Westerback’s license as renewed and current.

The investigation into Westerback began March 8 when he was involved in a crash in Thousand Oaks. He was arrested on suspicion of being under the influence of an opiate and child endangerment, officials said.

On Wednesday, he was arrested again on suspicion of DUI after a narcotics detective spotted him driving suspiciously. While toxicology results are pending in his second arrest, the symptoms suggest that Westerback was also under the influence of an opiate, Pentis said.

He was released from Ventura County jail on Thursday and is scheduled to appear in court on Aug. 29.

Westerback allegedly has been overprescribing pain medication to patients, including oxycodone, hydrocodone and Vicodin.

“It is highly unusual for a psychiatrist to be involved in that kind of practice,” Pentis said.

Westerback has been interviewed by the Ventura County Interagency Pharmaceutical Crimes Unit, which was created last month in response to the increasing problem of prescription drug abuse and heroin addiction in the East County, according to Pentis.

Simi Valley and Thousand Oaks police, along with the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office, have joined forces to prosecute “doctors who are operating as drug dealers,” Pentis said in providing a general description of the unit.

“We operate throughout the county,” he added.

The California Medical Board and the DEA are assisting in the investigation and are part of the local task force, officials said.

Source: Cindy Von Quednow, "Thousand Oaks doctor accused of 2 DUI-related charges in 3 months," Ventura County Star, June 11, 2013.

Patient of Dr. Westerback
2014-03-02 14:12:35
Dr. Daryl Westerback treated my illness for a very long time, that is, before the alleged treatment of patients under the influence, during the alleged treatment of patients under the influence and until he retired. FIRTST, Dr. Westerback never treated me under the influence, nor did he in any way put my safety at risk. He is a very caring, professional physician who always puts the needs of his patients' care first. He is the best, brightest, and most helpful Medical Doctor/Psychiatrist I have been treated by in 10 years. I trust him with my life and am discussed that you defame his great character by distorting his practice, treatment of patients and driving "Under the influence of Drugs"...Perhaps that makes good attractive headlines, however, driving under prescribed medication would be more accurate, albeit less attractive to your readers. You should be ashamed, as you did nothing to help the mentally ill community, but have been successful in the destruction of a very good man and wonderful doctor.

Dr. Westerback, I miss you and may God Bless you. You are none of what I read in this terribly written article and You Saved My LIFE...I thank you. You are my most trusted doctor and I think about you from Oregon daily.

Sue Sykes
2014-03-03 13:19:04
Tsk-tsk. I hope Dr. Westerback has a good attorney.

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