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National Geographic has a special on King of Coke - Dentist Larry Lavin

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National Geographic is airing a special at the beginning of January called "King of Coke:Living The High Life" which is about dentist Larry Lavin who was sent to prison for dealing cocaine.

Lawrence W. Lavin D.D.S. was investigated by the F.B.I. and convicted of failing to pay $545,000 in taxes from dealing cocaine between 1979-1982 on Sept 4, 1986. He was sent to federal prison (Bureau of Prisons #34506-066) and released in 2005.

Lavin started selling the illegal substance while at the University of Pennsylvania School of Dentistry. He continued to sell cocaine out of his dental office after getting his dental license on July 2, 1981. He did not renew his Pennsylvania dental license after going to prison and it was suspended in 1987.

In the National Geographic movie Lavin's former dental assistant shows the film crew around the dental office where Lavin practiced and talks about how he was on the phone all the time while there. Dr. Lavin had a phone in each of the operatories and she says the office phone would ring all the time.

The Harrison Act of 1914 banned the use of cocaine and other substances in non-prescription products. Public use of cocaine use declined substantially after that. Cocaine was still listed in drug guides for dentists up until the 1960's. Dental supply houses were still legally allowed to sell cocaine to dental offices up until the 1960's.

At present instead of cocaine dental offices use derivatives with the suffix -caine at the end of them for pain relief. Lavin may have been born too late. If he had practice a few years earlier he may have only lost his dental license for prescribing cocaine in high amounts to patients from the dental office.

Larry Lavin became interested in dentistry, according to Mark Bowden, in his book entitled Doctor Dealer, after he saved up money from his paper route to pay for his own braces. Larry had the nickname "Fang" because his incisors were rotated. To help pay for the braces Lavin also did odd jobs for the dentist who helped him. The dentist who fixed Lavin's teeth explained the profession of dentistry to him and it was then he decided to become a dentist. Later a new nickname would be given to him - Dr. Snow, which is the title of another book about Larry Lavin by Carol Saline.

Lavin appealed the government's case to confiscate all items that were gained through his drug dealing and tax evasion in 1991. A very long document about this can be read online.

Lavin and his wife Marcia are now divorced. Marcia and their three children (Chris, Tara, and Kelly) live in Wisconsin. He has a Facebook account which says he has been Director of Services for the international sales and marketing company One Touch Direct since 2005.

The National Geographic Channel will air this special on Thursday Jan 2 at 10 pm and Friday Jan 3, 2014 at 1 am.

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