A University of Pittsburgh professor has been charged with using university and federal grant money to obtain narcotics, which police said he then injected.
Billy Day, 52, of Upper St. Clair was arraigned Tuesday morning on 18 counts of felony drug charges after investigators said they found in his office narcotics and drugs that can be used to treat anxiety.
Court records show Mr. Day was released on $25,000 unsecured bail. He declined comment.
University police wrote in a criminal complaint that the chairman of the university's pharmacy school contacted them this summer regarding "suspicious" narcotics purchases by Mr. Day.
The chairman, Barry Gold, told police he confronted Mr. Day about the suspicious purchases in July and gave Mr. Day two days to explain how they related to his medical research. When the deadline approached, police wrote, Mr. Day told Mr. Gold "that he was consuming the narcotics and seeking rehab."
A short while later, Pitt police and agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration searched Mr. Day's office and found Midazolam, Demerol, Clonazepam, Lorazepam and other substances, according to the complaint. An internal auditor later found that Mr. Day obtained the drugs using more than $3,800 from the university or from federal National Institutes of Health grants, according to police.
When police interviewed him earlier this month, Mr. Day said that he initially obtained the drugs for use in research and then began injecting them, sometimes in his office or restrooms to the point that he blacked out, according to the complaint.
Police said in two instances, he obtained Midazolam from a fellow researcher who did not know Mr. Day was injecting the drug.
Ken Service, Pitt's vice chancellor for communications, said Mr. Day, a tenured faculty members in the university's pharmacy school, has been on leave since before police filed the charges. He would not say why Mr. Day was on leave, citing privacy concerns.
"No students have been affected. There's no indication that anyone else was involved," Mr. Service said.
The ability of university staff being able to obtain substances in a questionable manner has been raised before.
Earlier this year, Pittsburgh police said Robert J. Ferrante, a medical researcher at the university, used a university card to purchase cyanide days before his wife collapsed and then died of cyanide poisoning.
"All I can say is that in his particular instance the problem was brought to the attention of the university police by a university employee," Mr. Service said, referencing the case involving Mr. Day. "We will take a look at our procedures to see if anything needs to be done."
Liz Navratil: firstname.lastname@example.org, 412-263-1438 or on Twitter @LizNavratil.