Tonawanda News — Little was said in U.S. District Court in Buffalo Thursday afternoon, as Dr. Matthew A. Bennett stood before Magistrate Judge Hugh B. Scott during a status appearance.
Following his arrest one week ago, the 46-year-old North Tonawanda doctor accused by federal authorities of handing out prescription medication to his patients like candy in exchange for items such as a gas grill and toiletries will n
ow be facing an unlawful distribution of a controlled substance charge that could land him in jail.
But Bennett will not be prescribing medication to his patients anytime soon, after his ability to practice was suspended by the Drug Enforcement Administration.
“Dr. Bennett is no longer able to prescribe controlled substances,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy C. Lynch, who spoke to the the court during a short discourse.
Clean shaven, wearing a suit and positioned next to his defense attorney, Joel Daniels, Bennett did not speak.
The judge set a preliminary hearing Aug. 24 to move into the next stage of the case.
“Whether you waive it or have it is entirely up to you,” Scott told both Daniels and his client.
Daniels, who left the court room with Bennett, said he could not comment.
Meanwhile, Bennett’s patients have been left in the lurch, because they can no longer be prescribed medicine or because they were a part of a Suboxone clinic held on Saturdays at his office, where less potent forms of highly addictive opiates were prescribed.
As a result both the Niagara and Erie county health departments have encouraged Bennett’s patients to contact local Crisis Services centers by calling 834-3131 or 285-3515.Contact reporter Michael Regan at 693-1000, ext. 4115.