An Irmo Doctor Faces Prescription Drug Fraud Charges On Top of Felony DUI Charges
An Irmo-based doctor, who was arrested in January on felony DUI charges for killing a pedestrian while driving under the influence, now faces new charges for prescription drug fraud.
The Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) in South Carolina has charged David Lee Smith, 47, with illegally obtaining prescription drugs, including Tramadol, a very strong pain killer, and Eszopiclone, a drug used to treat severe insomnia.
Reportedly, Smith illegally obtained the drugs just two days before he struck and killed Raymond Geiger while driving under the influence.
DHEC alleges that Smith gave a pharmacist prescription forms with another doctor’s name on them in order to obtain the drugs. That doctor denied writing prescriptions for Smith, which means that Smith perpetrated prescription drug fraud.
Although Smith blew a zero percent blood alcohol level on a breathalyzer test, police reports state that he was “unsteady on his feet” and had blurred speech. At the accident scene, officers searched Smith’s 2006 black Land Rover and found a blank, unsigned prescription note.
According to official reports, two witnesses to the accident told officers that Smith’s black Land Rover had been weaving across the road just before the collision. At the scene, officers gave Smith three field sobriety tests. Police observed that Smith was unsteady on his feet, and did not seem to comprehend the situation. He also had slurred speech and blood-shot, watery eyes. Smith then failed two of the three field sobriety tests. The Lexington County Coroner’s Office and the Irmo Police Department will continue to investigate the accident with the assistance of the South Carolina Highway Patrol MAIT Team.
He also, reportedly, used prescription drug fraud to obtain drugs on other occasions. In October 2011, he illegally obtained Eszopiclone, using an unauthorized prescription form.
Records on file with the State Board of Medical Examiners show that Smith voluntarily gave up his medical license ten days after the fatal accident. That invalidated his ability to practice medicine – he specialized in family practice and ophthalmology – and he promised not to seek employment as a doctor.
Smith has been formally charged with violating drug distribution law, unlawful drug prescription, and obtaining prescription drugs by fraud.
Prescription Drug Fraud in South Carolina
The state of South Carolina has some of the toughest illegal drug penalties in the nation, including for prescription drug fraud. Whether the prescription abuse is due to addiction, normal pain management, or for profit, prescription drug fraud is a drug crime in South Carolina, and can lead to serious consequences, including imprisonment and the loss of a professional license.
In 2006, the South Carolina General Assembly authorized DHEC’s plan to establish the South Carolina Reporting & Identification Prescription Tracking System (SCRIPTS). The program allows DHEC’s Bureau of Drug Control (BDC) to monitor prescriptions and dispensation of Schedule II, III, and IV drugs, which are some of the strongest and most addiction prescription drugs on the market, and are often the targets of prescription drug fraud. Pharmacists must register with SCRIPTS and give the BDC information including their dispenser information, the prescribing doctor’s DEA number, the date and quantity of drugs dispensed, and approximate number of days supplied. This allows the BDC to figure out if a patient is taking too much of an addictive medication, or gathering too many refills to sell the drugs.
The Strom Law Firm Can Help with Prescription Drug Fraud Charges in South Carolina
If you have been arrested for prescription drug fraud, you face stiff penalties and a ruined reputation. The attorneys at the Strom Law Firm will investigate your case from every angle, determine whether an illegal search took place, and seek to have your prescription drug fraud charges reduced or even dismissed. Contact the prescription fraud attorneys at the Strom Law Firm, LLC today for a free consultation to discuss the facts of your case. We will investigate your case from every angle, determine whether an illegal search took place and seek to have your charges reduced or even dismissed. 803.252.4800.