A Cherry Creek and Highlands Ranch dentist whose actions prompted 8,000 of his former patients to be tested for HIV and hepatitis has admitted that he is addicted to drugs.
Dr. Stephen Stein has voluntarily relinquished his license to practice dentistry in Colorado and last Thursday, signed a Stipulation and Final Agency Order in which he admitted to a long battle with drug dependency.
The state dentistry board said that by surrendering his license, he will be able to apply for a new license to practice in two years. If a new license is granted, it will be linked to the old license in the public record.
According to the Stipulation and Final Agency Order by the Board of Dental Examiners, Dr. Stein admitted he sought treatment for his chemical dependency in the summer of 1998. Stein was not legally required to report this to the board and the board didnt find out until June 2011, when an anonymous complaint alleged he was misusing controlled substances.
In June 2011, the document says Dr. Stein admits he was once again using controlled substances, including Vicoprofen and Vicodin. He is described as being disabled by his dependency.
The Board also alleges that Dr. Stein wrote patients' prescriptions for Vicoprofen and Vicodin, and told them to bring the medication to their appointment. The drugs were allegedly diverted for his personal use.
State health officials say three people may have been infected by Stein, who is accused of reusing syringes and needles to administer drugs to some of his patients.
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment said three people tested positive after the department mailed letters to at least 8,000 patients advising them to be tested for HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C if they received intravenous drugs under Stein's care.
The dentistry board had voted to suspend Stein in June after it received a tip alleging that Stein was abusing/misusing controlled substances and diverting these substances from patients. The board did not clarify how long this had been occurring. In the the stipulation order, the board said in 2005 Stein called in a prescription to a pharmacy under a patient's name and then went to the pharmacy to pick up the prescription for his own use.
The board alleges that Stein was using controlled substances, including Vicodin and Vicoprofen in 2011 and was impaired while practicing dentistry.
They also said the practice at his dental office was to save the unused portion of medication and combine the medications into one syringe to be used on another patient. This practice resulted in the reuse of syringes and needles, which put patients in jeopardy of infections.
During our 3 and 5 p.m. newscasts on Wednesday, 7NEWS reported Stein had admitted to misusing the syringes but those are only the findings of the board and not an admittance of guilt on his part. Stein has not been charged with any criminal wrongdoing in conjunction with the investigation.
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