A dentist from Lehman Township has been arrested on charges she inappropriately prescribed addictive pain medicine to family members, friends and patients.
Sare M. Rhodes, 35, whose practice is on Bridge Street, Tunkhannock, is charged with 10 misdemeanor counts of refusal to keep required records and 10 misdemeanor counts of prescribing controlled substances to people known to be dependent, court records show.
In February, a Pittston pharmacist reported a Tunkhannock colleague was concerned patients from Rhodes’ office were using various pharmacies to get the same medicine, Oxycodone and Endocet, both potent opiate-based narcotics, according to the agency’s report made public Tuesday.
An investigation led by an agent from the state Attorney General’s narcotics division showed 10 people were skipping around to different Back Mountain and Tunkhannock area pharmacies for the drugs.
Rhodes wrote prescriptions for her husband, Scott Kern, and his mother, Patricia Kern. She also wrote prescriptions for her sister and brother-in-law, Brianne and Tim Herron. The report names six others as having received alleged illegitimate prescriptions from Rhodes.
Dentists must be able to adequately explain why their patients are receiving long-term pain-management drugs. Rhodes’ husband began filling Oxycodone prescriptions in 2009, and over the next three years, the dentist accumulated more opiate-needing patients.
In his criminal complaint, narcotics agent Gregory Policare said one pharmacist questioned Rhodes about the frequency and length of time one of her patients got the medicine. That CVS Pharmacy in Tunkhannock stopped getting prescriptions from Rhodes shortly after his inquiry, the report said.
After obtaining a search warrant, Policare found two of the 10 patient files in question were missing. He also found that her ongoing prescriptions had no medical or dental founding, the report said.
“She definitely far exceeded the rules of her … license with the inappropriate prescribing of potentially abusive drugs,” Policare said in his report.
A pre-trial hearing is scheduled for Aug. 8 before Wyoming County district Judge Carl Smith Jr.
Joseph Yeager of Forty Fort is listed as Rhodes’ attorney. A receptionist at his office said Yeager would have no comment Tuesday.
Upon a verdict, the Pennsylvania State Board of Dentistry will be notified, said Timothy Doherty of the Attorney General’s Office.
“Once a verdict or guilty plea takes place, then the board takes a separate action,” Doherty said, explaining the two work independent of one another. “With any type of action, the board could decide to revoke a practitioner’s license.”