PHOTO: Federal agents on Sunday night pulled Dr. Noel Blackman from an aircraft at JFK International Airport. The flight reportedly was bound for Blackman’s native Guyana. Photo Courtesy of oxycodonepills.wordpress.com
By Michael V. Cusenza
A Queens doctor’s midnight run to his native Guyana, purportedly to avoid imminent arrest and prosecution for allegedly selling hundreds of thousands of highly addictive pain pills, was foiled last Sunday when federal agents acting on a tip ordered the flight to return to its terminal at John F. Kennedy International Airport, according to authorities and published reports.
Dr. Noel Blackman, 68, who lives in Far Rockaway but has medical offices in Elmhurst, Brooklyn, and on Long Island, has been charged with conspiracy to distribute oxycodone. Considered a flight risk, he was ordered held by a U.S. Magistrate judge.
Investigators allegedly found $30,000 in Blackman’s luggage after pulling him off the aircraft.
Drug Enforcement Administration records indicate that Blackman wrote 114 prescriptions in 2014 for 3,800 oxycodone pills. However, last year the same statistics skyrocketed: he issued nearly 2,500 prescriptions for about 365,000 pills in 2015.
“This volume of patients is consistent with a doctor’s participation in a conspiracy to illegally distribute oxycodone and not with a legitimate pain management practice,” a federal agent told Newsday.
Blackman is a former minister of Health for Guyana. He’s also chairman of the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation Board of Directors.
Earlier this month, President Obama proposed $1.1 billion in new funding to address the prescription opioid abuse and heroin use epidemic. New data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that opioids—a class of drugs that include prescription pain medications and heroin—were involved in 28,648 deaths in 2014. And between 2002 and 2013, the number of heroin-related deaths in America nearly quadrupled.