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27 Years in Prison for|’Candy Man’ Drug Doc

SANTA ANA, Calif. (CN) - A Santa Barbara-area doctor known as the Candy Man was sentenced Monday to 27 years in federal prison for writing too many prescriptions for narcotics - 1.7 million doses in a single year, prosecutors said.

Julio Gabriel Diaz, 67, of Goleta, ran the Family Medical Clinic in Santa Barbara. A federal jury convicted him in August of 79 counts of distributing controlled substances, including OxyContin, Dilaudid, Vicodin, Norco and Xanax. His patients usually paid him cash, prosecutors said.

U.S. Attorney Eileen Decker said Diaz wrote "a staggering number of prescriptions for people, many of whom were clearly abusing the drugs."

"Diaz ignored family members who begged him to stop prescribing prescription pain medications to loved ones, and he ignored warnings from doctors and pharmacists that his 'patients' were abusing the drugs and suffering overdoses - in some cases fatally overdosing," Decker said in a statement Monday.

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