Three people, including two medical professionals, are among defendants recently prosecuted in federal court as part of continued efforts to crack down on opioid abuse.
Lisa Marie Douthit, 42, formerly a pharmacy technician at a Walgreen’s in Richmond Hill, 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 her employer, said Bobby L. Christine, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia.
In addition, Jamie Mays, 24, of Hinesville, a former medical assistant at a Richmond Hill pain clinic, awaits sentencing after pleading guilty to stealing prescriptions for the opioids Percocet and Oxycodone.
Reginald Eric Lee, 24, of Hinesville, 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.
Mays is currently out on bond and Lee is in custody of the Liberty County Sheriff's Office while awaiting sentencing.
“Opioid abuse is a crisis in our country and our community, and we are committed to targeting those individuals who divert those highly addictive drugs from their proper use,” said attorney Christine. “It is especially troubling when these illegal activities are facilitated by people who exploit their access to the healthcare system, and we will not tolerate it.”
These cases were investigated by the Opioid Task Force, which includes the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the FBI, the department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS), the Chatham County Narcotics Team (CNT), and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Georgia.
“The recklessness and greed exhibited by these individuals put citizens at significant risk of addiction and death,” said Chris Hacker, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta. “We will use every tool we have to stop criminals from exploiting the vulnerable by taking advantage of their professional access to these drugs.”
Robert J. Murphy, the Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Atlanta Division stated, “The abuse of prescription drugs continues to be a major concern in America. The abuse of a trusted medical profession will not be tolerated. As the nationwide trend toward non-medical use of prescription drugs swells, the need for an organized, immediate, and effective response increases correspondingly. This is a perfect example of the success that can be accomplished when federal, state and local resources and subsequent prosecution by the United States Attorney’s Office are combined to present a united front.”
Chatham-Savannah Counter Narcotics Team Director Everett Ragan said, “We rely on the healthcare system and its professionals to aid us in fighting the war on the opioid crisis. I know the majority in the profession are doing that every day; however, we stand ready to arrest those who choose to further complicate this matter.”
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.