Originally created 06/28/02

Doctor's employee faces drug charges



An employee of the Augusta doctor's office raided last week by narcotic agents had been indicted on federal charges of illegally dispensing narcotics.

Carolyn T. Mack, of the 2000 block of Emery Hills Drive, was indicted May 9 on 22 counts of dispensation of controlled substances. The indictment remained under seal until Thursday.

Also Thursday, Ms. Mack appeared in U.S. District Court and pleaded innocent to the charges, which carry penalties of up to 20 years in prison.

According to the indictment, Ms. Mack is accused of writing prescriptions as part of her duties at the Augusta Medical Center, 1132 Druid Park Ave., although she is neither a physician nor a pharmacist.

State and federal drug agents searched the doctor's office June 19. Jim Cope, an agent for the Georgia Drugs and Narcotics Agency, said afterward that officers were investigating allegations that Dr. Rita Nzeribe-Udom prescribed controlled substances without legitimate medical reasons or in amounts exceeding medical needs.

The indictment unsealed Thursday states that Ms. Mack wrote prescriptions on the doctor's behalf for patients who paid in cash. However, the indictment names only Ms. Mack as a defendant. The prescribed drugs included Percocet, Seconal and Xanax, narcotics used to treat severe pain and anxiety and to sedate patients.

Dr. Nzeribe-Udom has run the center since January 2001 and had worked there in the past.

Reach Sandy Hodson at (706) 823-3226 or shodson@augustachronicle.com.