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UB 'faculty expert on substance abuse' arrested, charged with federal drug crime

Posted at 10:23 PM, Dec 18, 2018

HAMBURG, N.Y. (WKBW) — A University at Buffalo medical school faculty member deemed the school's "faculty expert on substance abuse" has been arrested on federal drug charges, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.

Prosecutors say Dr. Torin Finver, 54, was arrested on Monday at his Hamburg home. He was then charged by a criminal complaint with importation of a controlled substance, which they say was heroin and cocaine.

According to a University at Buffalo spokesperson, Dr. Finver is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Family Medicine at the school.

This is his resume as listed on UB's website:

  • Medical Director, Horizon Health - Terrace House (2014-present)
  • Medical Director, Renaissance Addiction Services (2014-present)
  • Fellowship Director, Addiction Medicine, University at Buffalo (2014-present)
  • Consultant, Health and Longevity Center (2011–2013)
  • Physician, Center for Healthy Living (2007–2008)
  • Physician Partner, Medicine, Family Medicine Associates of Ithaca (2002–2007)

He was also listed on the leadership page for Kids Escaping Drugs, but his bio has since been scrubbed. This is what it looked like before it was removed:

One page on UB's website does mention that Finver recovered from addiction.

The spokesperson for UB issued this statement:

The university is aware of Dr. Finver’s arrest and is gathering more information. At this time, the university has no reason to believe that the charges are related to Dr. Finver’s duties at the university. The university has a process in place to address instances where an employee is accused of a crime. We will take necessary steps to respond, with the understanding that all people accused of a crime are presumed innocent unless proven guilty.

Prosecutors say U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officers intercepted mail addressed to Dr. Finver’s home in November. After a brief investigation, it was discovered the mail contained three grams of a white powdery substance, which field tested positive for cocaine.

In December, postal inspectors in Rochester located mail being sent to Dr. Finver’s home, and after investigation, discovered it contained three small envelopes with a brown rock-like substance, which tested positive for heroin. Another parcel was later found to contain cocaine.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, a controlled delivery was conducted at Dr. Finver’s home by law enforcement officers. A federal search warrant of the home was then conducted and Dr. Finver was taken into custody.

If convicted, Dr. Finver faces 20 years in prison and a $1,000,000 fine.

He is currently released by the court with conditions.

The 7 Eyewitness News I-Team has uncovered documents from the New York State Department of Health showing Dr. Finver had a history of habitual drug and/or alcohol use.

In 2008, Dr. Finver's medical license was suspended by DOH. In 2014, his license was reinstated to allow him to take over as director of UB's Addiction Medicine Fellowship Program.

The University at Buffalo was aware Dr. Finver had his medical license suspended at the time he was hired, a spokesperson confirms. The school "closely followed all state requirements for employing a physician whose license had been suspended because of prior substance abuse. This included regular monitoring of Dr. Finver’s treatment for substance abuse, monitoring his compliance with his treatment program and monitoring his work performance."

The University said there was no indication Dr. Finver was not performing his duties or his patients were at risk.

"Like many people who pursue the field of addiction medicine, Dr. Finver’s own struggles with substance abuse motivated him to try to help others. Unfortunately, relapse is an all-to-common occurrence among people with a history of substance abuse," the statement from UB reads.

According to documents, Dr. Finver's license to practice medicine was suspended for a period starting in 2008. He was later allowed to practice on probation. The full documents can be read below.