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Prescription drug abuse could mean prison for former dentist

The former dentist from Wisconsin Rapids first became addicted to prescription drugs while a dental student. After graduating and getting a job, the dentist then continued using prescription drugs. Even after joining his father's dental practice, the dentist continued to deal with a drug abuse problem.

Allegedly writing false prescriptions and having them filled by other individuals, the dentist continued to obtain drugs such as Oxycontin and hydrocodone. He would pay those individuals to fill the prescriptions and would take some of the drugs for himself.

But after his daughter was born, the dentist took it upon himself to overcome his substance abuse problem. He put himself in counseling and even graduated from an inpatient program. But eventually he was charged with illegally obtaining prescription drugs.

Just recently the dentist pled guilty to the charges against him. But even with his background and his desire to continue treatment, the court kept him in custody. His family does not understand why he has not been released, but the court notes that a release pending sentencing typically only occurs if the individual's circumstances are extraordinary.

Drug charges, whether for prescription drug fraud or distribution of marijuana, can lead to serious consequences. Even a conviction for possessing a small amount of drugs can permanently impact one's future.

For this particular dentist, the consequences could be far-reaching. Even though he took steps on his own to deal with the substance abuse issue, he could still be spending the next 24 years in prison. The penalty may also include a million dollar fine if the judge so chooses.

Source: Wisconsin Rapids Tribune: "Former Wisconsin Rapids dentist pleads guilty to prescription drug charges," Kevin Murphy, Oct. 13, 2011

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