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Baltimore pharmacist sentenced for multiple drug charges

A significant portion of America's drug problem has nothing to do with illegal or "street" drugs. Many people who suffer crippling and even fatal addictions were prescribed their drugs -- at least initially.

That's why law enforcement agencies have cracked down on physicians and pharmacists whom they believe are recklessly and illegally prescribing or dispensing powerful, addictive drugs to patients. A Baltimore pharmacist is paying a big price for her actions.

The 48-year-old woman was recently sentenced to a 25-year prison term and an additional five years of supervised probation for felony theft, Medicaid fraud and distribution. According to a press release from Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh, she will serve five years of that prison sentence.

The pharmacist, who owned the Poplar Grove Pharmacy, was convicted in February for knowingly filling fraudulent prescriptions for controlled substances and fraudulently collecting $365,000 from Medicaid and other benefit programs for the drugs.

According to the press release, "Beginning in 2012, Poplar Grove customers presented [the pharmacist] with patently fraudulent prescriptions. [She] knowingly and willfully filled the fraudulent prescriptions and dispensed controlled dangerous substances -- including oxycodone, alprazolam, clonazepam, and promethazine -- to her customers.

Attorney General Frosh said, "She cheated the state out of hundreds of thousands of dollars, and she contributed to the deadly epidemic of addiction in our state." She's still awaiting a restitution hearing to deal with repayment of those funds.

Prescription drug fraud is a serious crime. You don't have to be a health care provider or pharmacist to find yourself facing these charges. Obtaining drugs using a prescription you know to be fraudulent can land you in serious legal jeopardy. That's just one example. If you find yourself facing charges related to prescription drugs, it's essential to seek experienced legal guidance.

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