Maui Physician Charged with Unlawful Distribution of Hydrocodone and Other Controlled Substances
News Release, U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Hawaii, Wednesday, March 22, 2023
HONOLULU – Chris A. Boulange, 74, a medical doctor and resident of Wailuku, Maui, was arrested yesterday pursuant to a criminal complaint with four counts of unlawful distribution of controlled substances, including hydrocodone, alprazolam (also known as Xanax), and diazepam (also known as Valium). Boulange made his initial appearance today before Magistrate Judge Wes Reber Porter.
According to the affidavit in support of the criminal complaint, in June 2022, an undercover agent of the Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”) sought an appointment with Boulange, posing as a new patient seeking a prescription of opioids. Between July 2022 and November 2022, the undercover agent met with Boulange four times, each time occurring at a restaurant or bar rather than a medical office.
After each of the meetings, Boulange issued prescriptions for the undercover agent to hydrocodone. One of prescriptions also included alprazolam and another included diazepam. The complaint states that each of the prescriptions was issued outside the usual course of professional practice and without a legitimate medical purpose.
Hydrocodone is a moderately potent, orally available opioid that, in combination with acetaminophen, is widely used for treatment of acute or chronic pain. Alprazolam and diazepam belong to a class of medications called benzodiazepines, which are used primarily for sedation. All three medications, both individually and in combination with each other, are in high demand by illicit drug users.
“Licensed physicians have the ability to provide potentially dangerous addictive drugs that are otherwise illegal to possess,” said United States Attorney Clare E. Connors. “Criminally abusing the privilege to prescribe such drugs may result in criminal prosecution.”
“Trusted medical professionals who abuse their medical license to unlawfully distribute opioids ultimately contribute to the deadly opioid epidemic affecting our communities,” said DEA Honolulu District Office Assistant Special Agent in Charge Victor Vazquez. “Whether a street drug dealer or a physician, we will hold any individual accountable who peddle addictive drugs and threaten the safety of American people.”
The charges filed on March 2, 2023, consist of four counts of unlawful distribution of controlled substances, each of which carries a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years and a fine of not more than $1,000,000.
The charges and information contained in the federal complaint are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until indicted and proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
This case is being investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration in partnership with the Hawaii State Sheriff’s Division, Honolulu Police Department, and Maui Police Department. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael F. Albanese.
SA: Maui doctor charged in federal prescription drug investigation