Dr. Kraynak opioid trial

In a Dec. 5, 2012 photo, Dr. Raymond Kraynak is photographed during the Mount Carmel Area School Board reorganization meeting at the Northumberland County Career and Technology Center in Coal Township. Federal prosecutors accuse Kraynak of causing the overdose deaths of five people several years ago.

WILLIAMSPORT — A former patient of Dr. Raymond Kraynak testified on Monday that the doctor filled out a prescription for painkillers knowing he wanted to use the pills to wean his wife away from her addiction.

On the fourth day of the federal trial against Kraynak on Monday, the 52-year-old Girardville man said he was tired of seeing his wife sick from withdrawal when she would run out of pills. He testified he booked an appointment with Kraynak and demanded to know how he planned to help her.

“I said to him, ‘You have my wife a mess. What are you going to do about it?”’ said the man on Monday morning.

He and his wife will not be identified in this report due to an accusation from the woman that Kraynak sexually assaulted her. She is the third woman so far to testify that they were sexually assaulted by the suspended doctor.

Kraynak, knowing that the man planned to use the pills to attempt to break the addiction over time and keep his wife from withdrawal symptoms, wrote him a prescription for painkillers, the man testified.

“I tried to be a doctor,” said the man. “In my eyes, I saved her life.”

Federal agents arrested the now-suspended Mount Carmel doctor on Dec. 21, 2017. Kraynak, 64, was charged with 12 counts of illegal distribution or dispensing, five counts of illegal distribution or dispensing resulting in death and two counts of maintaining a drug-involved premises for his offices in Mount Carmel and Shamokin. The prescription practices resulted in the death of five people, authorities said.

The indictment states Kraynak allegedly prescribed more than six million opioids, such as Oxycontin, Vicodin and fentanyl, between May 2012 and July 2017. Prosecutors seek to hold him responsible for the overdose deaths of five patients that occurred between October 2013 and May 2015. No doctor in all of Pennsylvania prescribed more doses of opioids in the 19 months leading into July 2017 than Kraynak’s 2,792,490.

Doctor since childhood

The woman, 41, of Girardville, testified that Kraynak was her doctor since she was a child. She started taking painkillers to deal with legitimate pain but then was addicted for 13 years, nearly losing her marriage, damaging relationships with her children and becoming homeless for a period of time when she was estranged from her family.

“I lied to myself,” she testified. “I convinced myself that I needed them. I was addicted from the very start.”

The woman testified that Kraynak smelled of alcohol and was belligerent during one of her visits in 2009. He allegedly forcibly kissed her and then forced her to touch his genitals. When she pushed him away, he wrote a prescription for her and she left the office.

Her husband testified that he went looking for Kraynak on the night that she told him of the sexual assault but never found him.

“I didn’t want to get arrested,” he testified. “I was afraid of what I might do.”

She didn’t return to Kraynak’s office for a year. She returned because other doctors were writing her “way lower doses” of pain medication. The first visit back in a year involved no apologies from Kraynak or mention of the incident, nor any physical examination — only another prescription, she testified.

Kraynak increased her dosage again after an accident in which she was severely injured, she testified.

The relationship with her husband and family was a constant struggle. They caught her snorting pills in the bathroom at one point, they testified.

“I left so they would have a normal life,” she said, noting she would sleep in her vehicle and friends’ houses, and she sold pills for gas money and food.

‘Completely different person’

Her husband testified that she became a “completely different person” when the addiction was at its peak. She stopped going to their children’s activities, she stopped caring, she barely left the bed.

“She was a total mess,” he testified. “She was like a walking zombie.”

He said their relationship was strained and he contemplated divorce. He said he was raising seven children on his own, trying to keep his wife alive and maintaining a job.

“I was worried every day,” he testified. “I was scared to answer (my phone) no matter the time of day. I was afraid I would have to tell my kids that their mom was dead.”

When the woman finally admitted she had a problem the woman testified that she asked Kraynak to prescribe her suboxone. She didn’t like the way they made her feel and decided to get clean without them. She has been clean for three years, the couple testified.

Asked why she never spoke out against Kraynak for his prescribing methods or his alleged sexual assault, the woman said she wished she would have.

“A lot of things would be different for a lot of people,” she said.

Her husband said their story has a happy ending.

“We put it all behind us until now,” he said. “We do things as a family again. It’s great.”

Kraynak is free on $500,000 unsecured bail. His medical license is suspended indefinitely by the State Board of Osteopathic Medicine until the conclusion of the criminal case, according to the Department of State.

The trial continues today at 9:30 a.m. The trial is anticipated to last approximately four weeks, excluding Sept. 17, Sept. 24 and Oct. 1.

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