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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                                                                          July 30, 2012                   

CABELL COUNTY DOCTOR PLEADS GUILTY TO VIOLATING FEDERAL DRUG CONTROL LAWS

Doctor Prescribed Nearly 6,000 Pills Containing Oxycodone to a Patient Who Had Known Painkiller Addiction

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. –United States Attorney Booth Goodwin today announced that a Cabell County doctor pleaded guilty to violating federal drug control laws. Dr. Anita Dawson, 55, of Milton, W.Va., pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting in obtaining controlled substances by misrepresentation, fraud, forgery, and subterfuge.

Dawson admitted that from July 2006 until May 21, 2009, she wrote prescriptions for addictive pain medications to an individual identified as “E.B.”  Dawson admitted she wrote a total of nearly 6,000 pills containing oxycodone and a total of more than 220 pills for the painkiller Endocet.   Dawson further admitted that at the time she wrote the prescriptions for “E.B.,” she was aware that the patient was seeking pain medication for an addiction and other inappropriate reasons.     

Dawson and “E.B.” entered into a pain management agreement which required the patient to submit to drug tests and pill counts.  Despite the known individual’s repeated violations of the pain management agreement, Dawson admitted she continued to prescribe pain medication. 

“This conviction is an important victory in the fight against prescription drug abuse,” said Goodwin. “The vast majority of physicians prescribe responsibly, but even a handful of bad doctors can flood our communities with illegal pills. Every time we put a law-breaking doctor out of business, it’s a big step toward getting this problem under control.”

Dawson’s medical license was suspended by the West Virginia Board of Osteopathy in April 2010, on the same day federal and state investigators executed a search warrant at her Milton office. Following the search and the suspension of her medical license, Dawson voluntarily gave up her license permanently.
Dawson faces up to four years in prison and a $250,000 fine when she is sentenced on October 29, 2012 by United States District Judge Robert C. Chambers.

This case was prosecuted as part of an ongoing effort led by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of West Virginia to combat the illicit sale and misuse of prescription drugs.  The U.S. Attorney’s Office, joined by federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, is committed to aggressively pursuing and shutting down illegal pill trafficking, eliminating open air drug markets, and curtailing the spread of opiate painkillers in communities across the Southern District. 

The investigation is being conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General, and the Drug Enforcement Administration, with assistance from the West Virginia State Police and the Cabell County Sheriff’s Office.  Assistant United States Attorney Steven Loew is in charge of the prosecution. 

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