Boca Raton detectives charge doctor with trafficking
Boca Raton, FL – On Thursday, February 21, 2013 a two-year investigation culminated in the arrest of a psychiatrist for trafficking and writing a prescription without a medical need.
The investigation began in February 2011, when Crime Stoppers received an anonymous tip that Dr. James Cocores was prescribing large amounts of oxycodone, or other requested drugs, with little or no questioning or examination. Dr. Cocores is a psychiatrist who specializes in drug abuse treatment and opiate addiction at his practice, Southcoast Psychotherapy & Education Associates, Inc., 5301 North Federal Highway, Boca Raton.
Detectives established an undercover (UC) officer as a prospective patient who was seeking grief counseling/treatment for a traumatic event. During the initial visit, the UC filled out a questionnaire and provided a list of prescribed medications, which included oxycodone, alprazolam, and ibuprophen. Dr. Cocores spoke with the UC about the psychological issues she was experiencing then shifted the topic to a recent physical exam. The UC told Dr. Cocores she was seeing a chiropractor and another doctor for pain management. Dr. Cocores provided suggestions on pain alleviation related to eating habits, walking, lifting and sitting positions, but he did not conduct a physical exam, nor did he take any vital statistics.
During the second visit, the UC stated she was unable to obtain medical records office because law enforcement had shut down the office and seized all patient files. Over several months, Dr. Cocores prescribed multiple medications to the UC, including Xanax, Vicodin, Percocet and Oxycodone. At no time during any of the office visits did Dr. Cocores conduct any physical exams or diagnostic workups.
On March 6, 2012, detectives ascertained that Dr. Cocores never accessed the State of Florida’s Electronic Florida Online Report of Controlled Substances Evaluation program (E-FORCSE), which is Florida’s Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP), to see if any of his patients were obtaining controlled substances from other practitioners.
On May 23, 2012, detectives met Dr. Cocores’s at his office. Detectives requested and received copies of the UC’s complete patient file. In August, the UC’s patient file and all audio/video evidence were given to a recognized medical expert and a Department of Health (DOH) official for review.
In October 2012, the DOH expert opined that Dr. Cocores failed to meet the standard of care as stipulated by the Florida Board of Medicine in four areas:
1. Dr. Cocores failed to conduct a physical exam and no diagnostic was ever completed.
2. Dr. Cocores failed to establish a treatment plan.
3. Dr. Cocores failed to explore alternate methods of treatment.
4. Dr. Cocores failed in preventing drug abuse and diversion.
The medical expert confirmed the DOH official’s opinions.
On February 21, 2013, detectives arrested Dr. James Cocores and charged him with trafficking oxycodone and writing a prescription without a medical need.
Boca Raton, FL
Photo courtesy of PBSO