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Arrested Ashland Doctor: A Life Spinning Out of Control?

SCRANTON — In 2011, Stephanie Tarapchak spent 10 weekends in the Women`s Unit of the Lackawanna County Corrections Facility, after a judge ruled Tarapchak contacted a teenaged child in violation of a custody order.

On at least one weekend in jail, court papers claim Tarapchak smuggled drugs in a body cavity.  Papers said she brought painkillers, and anti-anxiety drugs into lockup for her own personal use.

An ex-boyfriend told investigators Tarapchak, “…was shooting herself up with intravenous Valium on the way to prison.”

Prison officials will not comment if they are investigating whether it did adequate searches.

Prosecutors also charged Tarapchak with the 2011 death of Thomas Kromer, 52.

Court papers claim Tarapchak filled 15 prescriptions for painkillers in the four months before Kromer’s death.

“She was giving him all this medicine, and was telling him, `be careful with it because it will blow your heart out,” said, Barbara, Kromer’s sister.

The criminal investigation looked at Tarapchak`s record of writing prescriptions. Court papers show that over a six month period in 2011, she wrote 129,704 prescription painkillers. Which the investigator labelled, “…very high for a family practice.”

The Attorney General`s office also charged Tarapchak with insurance fraud.

“She was and is basically a good person and a good doctor,” said Tarapchak’s mother Doris Machuzah, who stands behind her daughter.

But court papers show a former employee of Tarapchak’s claimed the doctor was “…sometimes drunk or passed out in her apartment (above her office), and the patient would still be billed for an office visit.”

One other note from the grand jury presentment.

An ex-boyfriend said that in 2010, Tarapchak prescribed him Oxycontin, “to sell to college students for money.”

The doctor, whose license has been suspended is scheduled to face a judge Thursday in Lackawanna County on the various charges.


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