BECKLEY – Raleigh County doctor Michael Kostenko pleaded guilty and has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for a federal drug charge.
Kostenko, 61, appeared in front of U.S. District Judge Irene Berger on Aug. 23. In April, he pleaded guilty to one of the 22 criminal drug counts.
He faced one count of maintaining a drug-involved premises; 19 counts of distributing oxycodone not for legitimate medical purposes; and two counts of distribution not for medical purposes resulting in the death of two patients. He pleaded guilty to one count of distribution not for legitimate medical purposes.
Kostenko would host classes each day at Coal Country Clinic in Daniels on pain relief. After classes, he would write prescriptions for oxycodone in cash-only transactions, having never actually examined any of the patients.
Kostenko had claimed that while his practice seemed unorthodox, everyone has a “different standard of care.”
He also claimed that while he did write many prescriptions, they were all for low doses and given in small amounts, which he believed lessened the chance of abuse.
At his sentencing, Berger called Kostenko the worst kind of drug dealer.
“You poured thousands of prescription opiates into the streets, to people you knew weren’t taking them as prescribed,” she said.
After his 20 years in prison, the 61-year-old must serve five years supervised release, and he must pay a $50,000 fine.
Kostenko expressed that he was dissatisfied with his attorneys, alleging they did not defend him properly. His attorneys, Ward Morgan and Derrick Lefler, claim that they made several attempts to meet at the jail, only to be disregarded by Kostenko.
Kostenko’s attorneys stated at the hearing that put together the best defense they had available.
Kostenko will likely appeal the sentencing. He has 14 days to file an appeal for the sentence.