A pair of medical professions sentenced to federal prison time in separate cases underscores an uncommon trend in the ongoing opioid crisis.
Three people, including two medical professionals, were among defendants recently prosecuted in federal court as part of continued efforts to crack down on opioid abuse.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Lisa Marie Douthit, 42, a pharmacy technician at a Walgreen’s in Bryan County, was sentenced to three months in prison by U.S. District Court Judge William T. Moore Jr. for stealing opioid pills Oxycodone and Hydrocodone from stores in Richmond Hill and Savannah.
In addition, Jamie Mays, 19, of Hinesville, a former medical assistant at a Bryan County pain clinic, awaits sentencing after pleading guilty to stealing prescriptions for the opioids Percocet and Oxycodone.
Reginald Eric Lee, 24, of Hinesville, Georgia, also awaits sentencing after pleading guilty to stealing prescriptions for the opioids Percocet and Oxycodone and to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute Percocet and Oxycodone.
Matthew Josephson is an assistant U.S. Attorney and the District’s Opioid Enforcement Coordinator who says the vast majority of medical professionals take their responsibility seriously. And those who don’t, he believes will be found and held accountable.
“Medical professionals play a key role in the opiate crisis that we’re facing as a country because they effectively operate as gatekeepers for these prescription drugs,” Josephson said.
Still, the opioid crisis is hitting Chatham County harder than virtually every other area of Georgia.
“Outside of metro Atlanta, that’s correct. Chatham County and Richmond County are the two counties with the highest incidence of opiate misuse last year,” Josephson said. “These pills are highly addictive, people who take them often can start taking them for legitimate purposes.”
He assures that his office is working with every major hospital in the Southern District of Georgia to flag any information on the illegal diversion of prescription opioids.
If you have any information regarding health care fraud or illegal opioid diversion, please contact the U.S. Attorney’s Office at 912-652-4422.