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Press Release

Twisp Pharmacist Surrendered License, is Sentenced to 5 Years Probation and is Ordered to Pay a Fine for Illegally Possessing Opioids

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Washington

Spokane – Joseph H. Harrington, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, announced that Brian Shane Johnson, age 41, of Twisp, Washington, was sentenced today after having pleaded guilty on June 6, 2018, to possessing Oxycodone without a valid prescription or order. As part of the plea agreement, Johnson agreed to forfeit and surrender his pharmacist license to the State of Washington, Department of Health (DOH), Pharmacy Quality Assurance Commission (PQAC). United States Magistrate Judge John T. Rodgers sentenced Johnson to a 5-year term of probation and ordered him to pay a $7,500 fine.

According to information disclosed during court proceedings, DEA initiated an investigation after receiving information from DOH that Johnson, the owner/operator of Brewster Drug, in Brewster, Washington, was working at the pharmacy while impaired. In July and October 2017, Douglas Okanogan Fire District No. 15 responded to two medical emergencies at Brewster Drug and administered Narcan, a nasal spray used for the treatment of an opioid emergency, to Johnson. On another occasion, Johnson was arrested for driving under the influence. After conducting an onsite audit, DEA served an Immediate Suspension Order (ISO) on Brewster Drug’s DEA Registration. The ISO suspended Brewster Drug’s authority to order or dispense Schedule II-IV controlled substances. When interviewed, Johnson told DEA investigators he diverted and used approximately 8-10 Oxycodone 30mg pills a day. DEA’s audit and criminal investigation revealed Johnson diverted approximately 10,594 Oxycodone 30mg pills, 1,099 Morphine IR 15mg pills, 189 Morphine ER 100mg pills, and 11,125 Carisoprodol 350mg pills, for personal use. On October 19, 2018, Johnson surrendered his credential to practice as a pharmacist and agreed to never resume the practice of pharmacy in the state of Washington.

U.S. Attorney Harrington said, “We rely on pharmacists to safeguard the integrity of our prescription drug system. Johnson took advantage of his unique position to divert prescription drugs for his personal use. A pharmacist’s diversion of prescription drugs for personal use is particularly troubling because it removes prescription drugs from lawful distribution channels, potentially putting patients’ health at risk. The sentence imposed holds Johnson accountable for his conduct. The United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Washington is committed to prosecuting those who divert prescription drugs from their authorized controlled distribution system.”

“We are in a real struggle to reign in opioids plaguing our communities,” stated DEA Special Agent in Charge of the Pacific Northwest Region Keith Weis. “This individual has lost his DEA License because there is absolutely no place for the unaccountability surrounding his reckless and illegal dispensing.”

This case was investigated by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Office of Inspector General, and the State of Washington Department of Health. This case was prosecuted by George J.C. Jacobs, III, and Dan Fruchter, Assistant United States Attorneys for the Eastern District of Washington.

Updated November 2, 2018

Press Release Number: 18-CR-00075-JTR-1