Newport woman’s drug hearing postponed

MARIETTA – The sentencing hearing for a Newport Township woman charged with using deception to obtain prescription painkillers was postponed until later this month after her attorney motioned for a continuation Friday morning.

Washington County Common Pleas Judge Ed Lane granted the motion by defense attorney Rolf Baumgartel, who said his client, Michele Boyd, 44, of 3701 Zion Ridge Road, was scheduled for medical appointments over the next two weeks.

Lane re-set the sentencing hearing for 8 a.m. April 24.

Boyd was originally indicted in December on seven counts of deception to obtain a dangerous drug, and one count of illegal processing of drug documents from incidents that allegedly occurred between September and November 2012.

“She pretended to be a physician. She would call local pharmacies and tell them she was a doctor or a nurse in Kentucky and have a prescription filled, then she would pay for it and pick it up,” said Washington County Assistant Prosecutor Jared Erb.

He said six of the original eight counts against Boyd were dropped, and she pleaded guilty Feb. 8 to a single fourth-degree felony charge of deception to obtain a dangerous drug and the fifth-degree felony charge for illegal drug document processing.

Erb said the drug was tramadol, a painkiller that’s not considered a federally controlled substance, but still requires a prescription.

“People do get addicted to it,” he said. Boyd, a former nurse, had made the deceptive calls to area pharmacies to obtain the drug, he added.

Boyd was arrested twice, the first time in October at the Marietta Kroger store where a database indicated she had recently had a prescription for the drug filled at another area pharmacy.

The Kroger pharmacy called the doctor in Kentucky whose name was on the prescription phoned in by Boyd, and the physician confirmed he did not submit the prescription.

“They contacted the police and she was arrested, but bonded out,” Erb said. “Then a couple of weeks later she was arrested again picking up a prescription at the Marietta Walgreen’s drive-thru.”

He noted Boyd had a history of similar crimes and was arrested on 13 felony counts in June 2009, and another 13 counts in October 2009 in Kentucky.

“She was on probation there,” Erb said. Kentucky authorities had issued a warrant for her arrest, but Boyd will still face sentencing in Washington County on April 24, he said.

Washington County Sheriff Larry Mincks said pharmaceutical databases like the Ohio Automatic Rx Reporting System (OARRS) are valuable tools in preventing prescription drug crimes.

“If we have someone ‘doctor-shopping’ to get a prescription, for example, we can check every pharmacy in Ohio where they may have obtained a prescription,” he said. “And doctors and pharmacies can make use of that database, too.”