Cuyahoga County

Doctor indicted for “pill mill” operation




December 19, 2013

Cleveland – Dr. Ronald Celeste was indicted today by a Cuyahoga County Grand Jury on charges of drug trafficking and illegal processing of drug documents, County Prosecutor Timothy J. McGinty announced.

This 226-count indictment is a result of a two-year investigation by the Lakewood Police Narcotics Unit with assistance from Ohio State Pharmacy Board investigators.

Dr. Celeste wrote more than 33,000 prescriptions for controlled substances from 2009 through 2011, including more than 12,900 prescriptions in 2009 alone. The drugs were prescribed in large quantities and in dangerous combinations and included Oxycontin, Percocet, Codeine, Valium and other commonly abused prescription narcotics.

The two-year investigation included numerous undercover visits and revealed that Dr. Celeste, while employed at West Shore Family Practice in Westlake, engaged in superficial medical treatment and failed to adhere to minimal standards of medical practice. Those factors, along with the excessive amounts of drugs prescribed, demonstrated that Dr. Celeste was running a "pill mill."

As result of Dr. Celeste’s actions, thousands of highly abused narcotics prescription pills hit the streets of Cuyahoga County during that three-year period of time.

"This activity by the doctor not only endangered his patients, but also the citizens of Cuyahoga County,’’ said Assistant Prosecuting Attorney James Gutierrez.

Contact: Joseph Frolik, Director of Communications and Public Policy. Phone: (216) 443-7488 or Cell: (216) 640-6186