Ashland Doctor Facing Drug Charges

ASHLAND — A doctor in Schuylkill County is facing charges for allegedly prescribing large quantities of painkillers to people, and in one case, it turned deadly.

Stephanie Tarapchak is an Ashland doctor who lost her license to practice medicine in 2012.   That has led to her arrest by the state attorney general.

She’s accused of unlawfully prescribing pain killers like oxycodone that led to overdoses and one death. Prosecutors say she prescribed drugs without a physical exam, dispensed drugs to herself and her family, and even smuggled drugs into the Lackawanna County Prison.

Investigators say the 13 felony charges were centered in her Ashland office, where she also lived.

“Dr. Tarapchak, I hope you rot in hell for what you did to my brother!” said Barbara Kromer.

Investigators say an overdose prescribed by Dr. Tarapchak killed Barbara Kromer’s brother Tom in June 2011.

“Why would she give him something that would hurt or kill him, why would she do that?” Kromer asked.

“She’s a damn good doctor. I don’t think she did that! Honest, I don’t believe she could have done that!” said Doris Machuzah.

Machuzah is Dr. Tarapchak’s mother.  She doesn’t believe the allegations against her daughter.

“She writes a prescription and he walks out the door and Take them all and die, what was she supposed to do? Somebody please answer me that.”

“I cry every single day over my brother,” said Kromer.

Although the doctor’s office is in Ashland, Schuylkill County and the state attorney general’s office is involved, she’ll be prosecuted in Lackawanna County court.

83 comments

  • Sara Paulus Hummel

    so someone decided it would be funny to post under my name? This is impersonation. I fully support dr tarapchak and will never change my opinion

  • Bill Killian

    The doctor was a quack. She gets what she deserves. My doc won’t give me anything stronger than Tylenol for pain. She is a real nut job.

  • Sara Paulus Hummel

    absolutely disgusting of you to say. god will judge you too. I think you might need some scripts to calm you down.

    • Jill Moyer

      If I am so sick, maybe I should see the Doc. WAIT, SHE LOST HER LICENCE AND IS IN PRISON.Ha Ha Ha loser!

  • Jarret

    A doctor is responsible for their patients health. Therefore in order to insure that their patient is safely using the drugs as prescribed they are required by law to schedule an appointment for at least a 6 month check up ( depending on the drug). If the patient doesn’t make it in for the appointment, they are not legally permitted to write a prescription. If the doctor writes a prescription and ignoring the law, they are held liable. Hopefully for all of her supporters, she will have documentations that will support her conduct. My question however is why is she being charged with “smuggling” drugs into a jail? What well respected Doctor would do that? Another question is why are there allegations stating that she supplied drugs to herself and family? There has to be valid cause for these charges. “Blame the drug addict”? Only a moron would say such a thing. Drug addicts are addicts because dealers are good at what they do. Addicts are victims and the way I see this case, This doctor is the worst type of drug dealer. A doctor who used her license to create addicts out of her patients so she could make more money. Its disgusting that some people are too ignorant to see the irony in this case. She will have her trial, and the truth will he revealed. Something tells me that even with evidence, the ignorant will still deny. My heart goes out to his family because not only do they not have thier lived one, they have to face those who have no compassion for the loss of a human life due to negligence.

    • speaktome

      YES! The problem with the “War on Drugs” IS the SUPPLIERS!!! They come in many forms, doctors are one prime example. WAKE UP PEOPLE!

  • Megan

    When she is giving people prescriptions to fill to bring back to her that is not a doctor doing their job. When she hands out pills without a prescription she is not doing her job. When she prescribes people insane combinations of pain killers, knowing they have an addiction problem, they have built a tolerance, and take more to try to help get rid of the pain, which led to an accidental overdose, she is not doing her job. Yes she should be held accountable for continuing to hand out the prescriptions. It was brought to her attention that Tom had a problem, but she continued to enable him. This case doesn’t come because she wrote prescriptions for one person. There were multiple people she used to abuse her privileges as a doctor. As a doctor she is supposed to due no harm as well as not illegally write prescriptions. When multiple family members express their concern to her, she should have done something, like stop writing the prescriptions, but she chose not to. She wrote prescriptions without even examining people. People with chronic pain don’t intend to become addicted to the medicines that are supposed to help them. I don’t know how you can say there should be no blame placed on her. She handed out pills like Skittles and because of that someone died. The investigation into her has been going on for years now, so this isn’t going off a whim or the effects it had on one person and their family. Whether or not she made him take them, she still wrote prescription after prescription, even after she was made aware of his problem. This is a sad case all around, but in the end someone is dead. Greg and Sarah his family did try to get her to stop write the prescriptions, so no they wouldn’t have been bitching. He wasn’t suicidal or unintelligent. You say about Barbara being a class act, but the way you talk about people you don’t even know, especially a dead man shows what kind of act you are. It’s sad that people show zero respect for anyone anymore. In the end a jury and God are the only ones whose opinions will matter.

  • Sara Paulus Hummel

    really Wendy? enlighten us on why you say this, please. I would love to hear your intelligent opinion

  • Sara Paulus Hummel

    ru4real… are you for real? do you think that every doctor should be monitoring every instance in which a person takes a pill that is prescribed specifically for them? she didn’t shove the pills down his throat. it was his fault that he died because he was irresponsibly taking more pills than he was prescribed. such stupidity

    • ru4real17921

      I suppose you don’t think it is irresponsible medicine for a doctor to prescribe Percocet, Xanax and Methadone to the same patient at the same time, either.

    • Jarret

      People can “think” anything they want, however it is a LAW. Doctors will be liable if they break the LAW. All doctors understand this law, but apparently, some are too interested in the profit to care about the consequences. To think that law enforcers can arrest a person on these charges simply because they have suspicion of illegal practices is juvenile. How old are you? 12? Charges are processed through extensive investigations and there is no doubt in my mind that the law, following THIS law, has enough evidence to convict her.

  • Greg

    It’s also not Dr. Tarapchaks fault that the area she practiced in is an area that has a high number of addicts.

    • ru4real17921

      1. She could have practiced elsewhere; 2. She could have refused patients she identified as addicts, rather than help them continue their addictions; 3. She could have remembered her oath to ‘do no harm’ and actually treated patients for their addictions rather than continuing them. But, as one of her staunch supporters, I’m sure you will argue that, too. I saw the results of her ‘medical practice’ in the hospital ER often.

      • speaktome

        While it is true that a doctor prescribes meds and you are out the door with the script or pills in hand. You have instructions on HOW TO Take them as prescribed…but with a known addict a doc should find other ways to treat their said “pain” rather than handing them what they will use for their “fix”. Docs are to “do no harm”. The article states supplying to family members, and self, prescribing without an exam, and smuggling them into a prison. With that being said, apparently there is evidence of wrong doing on the docs part, and as a result someone has died, and others have blown the whistle. This isn’t the first doc in recent that got in trouble for doing this, remember Berks Psychiatry in Pottsville? Dr was handing out drugs without evaluations, and he got caught.

        I believe an addict can fool a doc to some degree, but docs know when they are being fooled. If a person takes their pain killers as prescribed they are not going to be coming back in to see the doc in a week…or even the next day.. addicts do that kind of stuff.

  • Rhonda

    It can’t have anything to do with a Federal lawsuit she has against Schuylkill County for all kinds of violations to her constitutional rights, could it? For sure it can’t have anything to do with the other lawsuit in state court against the Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs and the Board of Osteopathic Medicine for fraudulently pulling her license and prosecutorial misconduct? Nahhh, couldn’t have anything to do with either of them. Couldn’t have anything to do with the fact that she was front and center in exposing Lackawanna County
    Family Court as corrupt to the core, either?

  • Thomas Walsh

    Why would she be prosecuted in Lackawanna County, where her ex husband, Alex, has prominent political pull? why not in Schuylkill County, where she practiced?

  • Sara Paulus Hummel

    “Why would she give him something that would hurt or kill him, why would she do that?” Kromer asked.
    I’m sorry but doesn’t every prescription pill have the potential to hurt or kill someone if abused? this is not the doctors fault, people overdose on pills all the time and it is not the responsibility of the doctor to prevent someone who is suicidal or unintelligent to overdose. she was just doing her job

  • Greg

    Thanks for your support Sarah, it’s so sad that hard working physicians are ruined this way. It’s about time people stop blaming the doctor and start blaming the addict. Pardon my french but I’m sure that his family would be the first one bitching if she denied him medicine.

    • Greg

      ru4real most addicts are amazing at making themselves seem alright just to get high. Don’t talk about something you don’t know about. As someone who works with addicts I too have fallen victim to addicts who did an exceptional job at hiding their problem.

  • Greg

    I highly doubt that a medical doctor would not examine a patient before prescribing them drugs. It’s so sad we have to lose another good doctor because of a family who just can’ t admit their relative overdosed.

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