Charges against dentist bound over
BY ROBERT L. BAKER
Wyoming County Press Examiner
A 35-year-old dentist from Dallas charged with illegally prescribing powerful painkillers to friends and family had those charges bound over Thursday to the Wyoming County Court of Common Pleas.
Dr. Sare M. Rhodes, of 74 Lehman Ave., Dallas, appeared before Magisterial District Judge Carl Smith, and waived her rights to a preliminary hearing.
She faces 10 counts of failure to keep records of prescribed drugs and 10 counts of prescribing Oxycodone to a drug-dependent person.
Rhodes, a licensed dentist with an office at 161 North Bridge St., Tunkhannock, was charged by the state Attorney General’s office, which was represented Thursday by attorney Gregory Policare.
According to an affidavit of probable cause, investigators say became concerned about Rhodes’ prescriptions in February, when a CVS pharmacist at Tunkhannock noted that a patient was getting percocet as a maintenance drug from a dentist.
Investigators discovered that several of Rhodes’ patients were using various pharmacies to obtain percocet for pain management, which a Walgreen pharmacist said he thought was outside the scope of dentistry.
The CVS pharmacist also reported that Rhodes’ husband, Scott Kern, was regularly coming into his pharmacy to get oxycodone prescribed by his wife.
Prosecutors say when the pharmacist questioned Rhodes about the frequency and long-term use of the drug in her patients, the patients stopped coming to his pharmacy.
Pharmacists contacted during the investigation also expressed concern about the quantity and duration of the prescriptions Rhodes was writing, according to the affidavit.
Prosecutors say her husband had been getting monthly oxycodone prescriptions since January 2010 and his mother, Patricia Kern, had been getting them for 10 months. The dosage was also increasing over time, prosecutors say.
Rhodes’ sister, Brianne Herron, and her husband, Tim Herron, have also gotten the drug since January 2012, according to court records.
Investigators raided Rhodes’ dental office Feb. 13, finding records for only eight of the 10 purported patients, and those files lacked patient histories and lacked any record of drug prescriptions.
An expert medical consultant reviewed the documents, concluding Rhodes prescribed drugs without any underlying dental cause for the frequency and quantity of the drugs and that, while she had a right to treat her family members, she did not have the right to treat them for pain management, court records say.
The expert also found the long-term drug prescriptions “very disturbing,” saying she “far exceeded” rules regulating drug prescriptions for potentially abusive drugs.
Judge Smith set bail at $15,000 unsecured and included as one of the conditions of bail that she submit herself for a drug evaluation.
She is to be arraigned in Wyoming County Court on Sept. 6.