From the time of his arrest, Dr. Paul T. Biddle was upfront about his addiction to painkillers.
In time, the Orchard Park pain management physician also admitted writing prescriptions to two dead people and diverting the drugs to himself.
Biddle, 55, was sentenced Monday by U.S. District Judge Elizabeth A. Wolford to two years of probation.
Biddle's lawyer pointed to the ongoing opioid epidemic to suggest that his client, like so many others across the region and the nation, became dependent on drugs he used after suffering injuries and undergoing surgeries.
"Dr. Biddle is a casualty of that problem," said defense attorney Brian M. Melber. "He is the only victim of his offense."
Wolford agreed and said she saw no reason to send Biddle to prison.
His probationary sentence stems from a prosecution that centered around allegations that he wrote more than 800 prescriptions to a Tampa, Fla., pharmacy and that the opioids ended up back in his own hands.
Prosecutors said he paid for the painkillers – the prescriptions were for fentanyl, hydromorphone and morphine – and ordered that they be sent directly to his home in Amherst or his office in Orchard Park.
The doctor was also accused of using his patients' identities – including two who were dead – as part of his scheme.
Shortly after his arrest, Biddle acknowledged his addiction and entered a residential treatment program. He eventually pleaded guilty to identity theft and possession of unlawful hydromorphone.
"He has put his heart and soul into his treatment," Melber told Wolford at one point Monday. "He has done as well as anyone could do."
The government, led by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael J. Adler, said it was the large number of prescriptions at the same out-of-town pharmacy in Tampa that led the FBI and Drug Enforcement Administration to investigate Biddle.
A practicing physician for 16 years, Biddle is a graduate of the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry. He also has degree in ceramic engineering from Alfred University.
Biddle worked as an anesthesiologist at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center but later opened his own practice with a specialty in pain management. He also operated a medical marijuana practice. Melber said Biddle is not able to practice medicine right now and it is unclear if he ever will again.
The charges against Biddle are the result of investigation by the FBI's Western New York Healthcare Fraud Task Force, Drug Enforcement Administration, New York State Department of Financial Services, Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General, Office of Investigations and the Amherst Police Department.