Sep 26, 2013 10:07 AM EDT
Pitt Pharmacy Professor Faces 18 Felony Charges For Misusing University and Federal Grant Money to Buy Drugs
Billy W. Day, a 52-year-old University of Pittsburgh pharmacy professor has been arraigned Tuesday morning on 18 counts of felony drug charges after investigators found narcotics in his office. Police said that professor of Upper St. Clair misused the school research money to obtain a variety of powerful narcotics.
Day's allegations surfaced after Barry Gold, the chairman of the university's pharmacy school, came to know of his 'suspicious' narcotics purchases in July. Gold then contacted the University police, July 31.
Before approaching the police, Gold sought an explanation from Day about the suspicious purchases and set a two day deadline to explain the narcotics' relation to his medical research. According to the police officials' written comments in a criminal complaint, when the deadline approached, Day told Gold 'that he was consuming the narcotics and seeking rehab.'
According to the complaint, when Pitt police and agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration searched Day's office, they found Midazolam, Demerol, Clonazepam, Lorazepam and other anti-anxiety and pain-relieving medicines.
The police said that an internal auditor later discovered how Day obtained the drugs using more than $3,800 from the university or from federal National Institutes of Health grants.
According to the complaint, when police interviewed him earlier in Sep., Day initially told them that the drugs were purchased for use in chemistry research. But, he later admitted that he used some quantity for 'his own use.' Police said that he obtained Midazolam from a fellow researcher in 2011 and 2013 who was unaware that Day was indeed injecting the drug.
Day admitted to the investigators on Sept. 17 that he had been injecting as much as 100 milligrams of Midazolam, a potentially addictive drug, per day and experiencing memory blackouts.
"Day then pulled up the left sleeve of his shirt, volunteering to show his arm" and revealing "track marks" where he injected himself, campus police Detective Patrick Laughlin wrote in the complaint, posted in triblive. "He would inject the narcotic in many places, including his office and restrooms."
A preliminary hearing for Day has been scheduled Oct. 2 in Pittsburgh Municipal Court.
"The federal grant money, coupled with any use of the mail clearly puts him in the federal ballpark. It will be up to the U.S. to make that decision," WPXI legal analyst Phil DiLucente told the channel.
"It's sad. I really didn't know him real well, but it's amazing that anybody would do something like that," Pitt graduate student Cody Hoop told WPXI.
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