MELVILLE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- David Laffer and his wife Melinda Brady got nearly 12,000 pills in a four year period by "doctor shopping" before they turned to murder and robbery, according to a report.
Dr. Thomas Jan, a Massapequa Park addiction specialist and member of a Nassau County drug abuse task force, tells 1010 WINS reporter Mona Rivera the problem is that doctors often don't check a state database which tracks prescriptions.
1010 WINS' Mona Rivera reports
"I have a patient right now who called up to say his current medication isn't working," Jan said. "No problem, I'm going to run his name through the database before I take any actions."
The New York State Health Department operates the database.
"The number of doctors who are using this system is a fraction of the overall number that could be using it," spokesman Jeffrey Gordon said.
The department is proposing that pharmacists be allowed to check the state database as well.
A Newsday probe cited state records which showed Laffer and Brady were prescribed 11,881 pills by visiting medical professionals as many as 11 times a month from June 2007 through June 2011.
Laffer, 33, was sentenced last week to five consecutive life terms for the deaths of each of the victims plus an umbrella charge for multiple murders.
The victims were 45-year-old pharmacist Raymond Ferguson, Jennifer Mejia, a 17-year-old store clerk due to graduate high school days later, Jamie Taccetta, a 33-year-old mother of two who was planning her wedding, and 71-year-old Bryon Sheffield, who was picking up medication for his wife. Sheffield and his wife were planning their 50th wedding anniversary in July.
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