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    Broward woman charged with deceiving doctors to get drugs

    ©Associated Press
    September 28, 2002

    HOLLYWOOD, Fla. -- A woman has been charged under a new "doctor shopping" law passed to prevent deception in obtaining prescription drugs.

    Marilyn Georges, 53, was charged Thursday with six felony counts of "doctor shopping": obtaining the same controlled drugs from more than one doctor within a 30-day period by using deception. The law went into effect July 1.

    "This is the first time we've filed such a case in this division," Broward Assistant State Attorney Sharon Mullane said. "I believe there will be plenty of others. This is a problem that has existed for some time."

    Prosecutors said three unsuspecting Broward doctors wrote Georges eight prescriptions for oxycodone, a narcotic painkiller, and alprazolam, a sedative, in a little more than a month.

    Police first questioned Georges last month after two people died days apart in her home. One death was due to a drug overdose, according to the Broward Medical Examiner's Office. Authorities are conducting tests in the other case.

    Georges told police she "misled" three doctors into prescribing for her at least 130 tablets of alprazolam, the generic form of Xanax, during three days in August, according to police records.

    Georges is accused of visiting three doctors to obtain prescriptions for oxycodone and alprazolam on July 24 and 25, and again on July 10 and Aug. 16, according to prosecutors.

    Plans for a database to monitor an estimated 13.4-million prescriptions written every year in Florida failed to win approval during last spring's legislative session. State officials estimated it would cost taxpayers $1.5-million to collect the prescription data.

    Walgreen's has a system that can track prescriptions filled at any of its more than 500 branches in the state.

    However, that system does not interact with other drug stores and chains.

    "There are more deaths from prescription drugs in Florida right now than illicit drugs. This is the drug abuse problem right now," said Joe Spillane, a pharmacologist at Broward General Medical Center in Fort Lauderdale. "There's got to be a way to make a better system."

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