PITTSBURGH — That’s a pretty awful way to make sure you’ve got repeat customers.
The head of a Pennsylvania drug rehab center has been arrested for selling heroin and fentanyl to the people who had come to him for help, authorities said.
DEA agents accuse David Francis, 66, of using the Next Step Foundation in Mckees Rocks outside of Pittsburgh, as cover to sell drugs to both the center’s clients and others from the community.
When he appeared in court on Friday, Francis told the judge he was going through withdrawal from drugs himself, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported.
During raids of the center and of Francis’ home, agents located at least three clients who said they had been getting high off of fentanyl he had supplied. Several drug baggies and needles were also found at the rehab center and at Francis’ home.
Investigators say a person who bought drugs from Francis in May died of a fentanyl overdose. The overdose and others in the area triggered the investigation that led to Francis’ arrest.
According to DEA statistics, more than 50% of all overdose deaths in Pennsylvania last year were caused by fentanyl abuse.