Florida

Pediatrician admits memory issues and slowed thinking after decades of cocaine use

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Despite admitting to mental health and substance abuse problems, the Florida Department of Health says, 69-year-old Lehigh Acres pediatrician Enrique Luks has avoided retirement.

So, the Department of Health restricted Luks’ license last month after another doctor diagnosed Luks with “severe” alcohol use disorder, “moderate-to-severe” cocaine use disorder, neurocognitive disorder and cannabis-use disorder.

The emergency restriction order said Luks told an addiction specialist he saw that “he had recently been experiencing ‘memory problems,’ cognitive slowing, and a general decline in his ability to function physically and mentally.”

The ERO acts as a de facto suspension. Luks is prohibited from practicing medicine until he’s cleared by a doctor approved by the health department’s monitoring arm, the Professional Resources Network (PRN).

According to the ERO, Luks’ psychiatrist told him to contact PRN in March after a routine toxicology screening at his own pain management clinic turned up cannabis and cocaine in his system.

“Dr. Luks reported to PRN that he had been using cannabis daily and using cocaine several days per week,” the order said. “Dr. Luks also reported that he had previously abused alcohol but had ceased while under his psychiatrist’s care.”

PRN sent Luks to Dr. Robert Allen, a physician with an addiction specialty. In April, the restriction order said Luks detailed for Allen his use of cocaine, cannibis and drinking.

Cocaine: “Dr. Luks reported using cocaine “for several decades, with instances of daily use and in combination with alcohol” and his recent use had been “several times per week” before stopping in mid-March. “He admitted he had a problem with cocaine...”

Alcohol: “Dr. Luks reported a history of severe alcohol abuse over the course of several decades, which included frequent blackouts and multiple instances of driving under the influence of alcohol. Dr. Luks reported that he currently consumed alcohol on a nightly basis but claimed that it was usually a single glass of wine.”

Cannabis: “Dr. Luks reported using cannabis on a nightly basis to help his sleep or to assist with pain...”

He also told Allen on March 27, he suffered from “garbled speech and an inability to move” while driving on a highway. Luks’ general practitioner figured this came from the cocaine use, but Luks insisted he’d stopped using the drug by that time.

“Dr. Allen noted that, throughout the evaluation, Dr. Luks minimized all of the concerns that Dr. Allen raised and demonstrated poor insight and impaired judgment,” the restriction order said.

Allen also saw that Luks blood and urine test results indicated “heavy use of alcohol since Luks contacted PRN” in March.

Allen tested Luks’ hair for cocaine use. The cutoff level was 100 picograms/millgram. Luks’ tested 2,897 pg/mg.

Luks has had his license since Oct. 22, 1993.

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Since 1989, David J. Neal’s domain at the Miami Herald has expanded to include writing about Panthers (NHL and FIU), Dolphins, old school animation, food safety, fraud, naughty lawyers, bad doctors and all manner of breaking news. He drinks coladas whole. He does not work Indianapolis 500 Race Day.
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