He was described as a "lion", in the battle against drug addiction
But now, a widely known and respected doctor who worked to help so many break their addictions, finds himself facing federal drug charges.
Federal agents say on four occasions in the past month they intercepted packages from overseas containing narcotics bound for a home on Columbia Avenue in Hamburg owned by Dr. Torin Finver, a noted drug addiction specialist in Western New York.
On Monday, they removed the drugs from one one of the packages, had it delivered, and when it was accepted by him at his home, busted Dr. Finver for importing controlled substances according to U.S. Attorney for Western New York James Kennedy, whose office is now prosecuting the case.
"He admitted during his interview that he had been obtaining these drugs on line, using the dark net, and that these drugs including cocaine and heroin were for his personal use," Kennedy said
Colleagues Shocked, Disappointed
"We feel shock and disappointment, as well as betrayal and sadness for the person," said Anne D. Constantino, President and CEO of Horizon Health Services, where Dr. Finver was a consulting physician and where - according to Constantino - he treated hundreds of patients with drug addiction.
"Dr. Finver began working with us in 2014 when opened Terrace House which is the crisis stabilization center downtown Buffalo," said Constantino, who noted Dr. Finver also served as the acting medical director of the facility.
In addition, Dr. Finver was the medical director at Kids Escaping Drugs and a member of the faculty at the University at Buffalo Medical School.
Dr. Finver Was a Recovering Addict
"He's somebody on the front lines of the battle and has helped an enormous amount of people," said Constantino, who noted that Dr. Finver's own struggles with addiction might well have provided him insight in treating those with substance abuse issues.
"Dr. Finver made no secret of the fact that he was a recovering addict," said Constantino, who said as far as she knew Finver has been in recovery for ten years.
"When you are dealing with people who have suffered that exact same situation you do have a unique understanding," Constantino said.
No Longer Employed
According to Kennedy, following his initial court appearance Dr. Fivner (who was released from custody) surrendered his DEA issued license to prescribe controlled substances.
Given that, and the charges against him, Constantino confirmed he can for now no longer treat patents at Horizon.
"Resources are already scant in terms of the addiction crisis currently facing the community, and we've lost an important fighter with us," she said.
Asked what Dr. Finver's patients would be told, Constantino replied, "The truth, of course. They more than any others understand... and remember many of them have relapsed themselves, the power of addiction and the power of the drug."
According to Constantino, Finver showed no signs of relapse while recently treating patients, which she said is not uncommon among addicts who can compartmentalize their lives and hide their drug use even from those close to them.
However, Kennedy while speaking to reporters, indicated any relapse on Finver's part may have occurred more than recently.
"A quantity of fake urine was found in his basement which he indicated he used to pass drug tests," Kennedy said.
A Somber Reminder
"We see another sort of reputable member of the community swept up in addiction," said Kennedy regarding Dr. Finver, who had assisted the U.S. Attorney's office in formulating anti drug programs for school aged children.
"I think this can help us all learn about the process of addiction and its consequences," Constantino said.
Disclaimer: As mentioned in this story, Dr. Finver is the Medical Director at Kids Escaping Drugs. We want you to know that 2 On Your Side has been a longtime supporter of the nonprofit organization. We have helped raise money for the charity and held many telethons on our air.
In addition, 2 On Your Side's Maryalice Demler is on Kids Escaping Drugs' Board of Directors. She was not involved in the reporting or production of the story concerning Dr. Finver.