Former nurse accused of writing painkiller prescriptions for herself, fiancé

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BENNINGTON>> A former nurse of an Arlington primary care practice is accused of illegally obtaining prescription drugs for her and her fiancé.

Jodi A. Stewart, 34, of Bennington, is facing two felony counts of fraudulently obtaining a prescription. She pleaded not guilty in Vermont Superior Court on Nov. 9, was released without bail and ordered not to possess any prescription drugs except ones prescribed to her.

Stewart was employed at the Battenkill Valley Health Center in Arlington when she allegedly wrote a total of four prescriptions for opioid painkillers for herself and her fiance, according to an affidavit by Detective Dennis Menard, an investigator with the Vermont Secretary of State.

Menard wrote that on July 13, he received a report from Grace Gilbert-Davis, CEO of Battenkill Valley. The report alleged that Stewart, a Licensed Practical Nurse who was terminated from her job on July 2, wrote and filled three prescriptions for opioid painkillers.

The affidavit alleges that on June 26, Stewart wrote herself a prescription for 60 painkillers. An internal investigation by the health center staff found Stewart had also written a prescription for her fiancé on June 8 for 60 pills and June 18 for 90 pills. A fourth prescription she wrote for her fiancé, which did not have a signature, was found under her workstation keyboard on July 2, according to the affidavit.

Her fiance was a patient at the practice, according to the affidavit, and the doctor had told him he would no longer be prescribed painkillers because of a "lack of diagnostic evidence that such medication was warranted."

In her statement to police, Gilbert-Davis wrote that Stewart "misled" a nurse practitioner into signing off on the prescriptions by claiming that her primary care doctor, who was employed by the health center, had prescribed Stewart the painkillers for migraine headaches. Gilbert-Davis said Stewart had worked with the doctor on June 26 and never asked to be prescribed painkillers. According to the affidavit, there was no record that Stewart's doctor had ever prescribed the painkillers to her.

Menard wrote that he spoke with Gilbert-Davis again on Sept. 17. He wrote that she told him Stewart had admitted to obtaining the fraudulent prescriptions and alleged that she told staff members, "No sense in arguing. No sense in it. I did it. I screwed up."

Menard wrote that he spoke with Stewart the same day.

According to the affidavit, Stewart admitted to Menard about writing the prescriptions and claimed she had been diagnosed with migraines in an emergency room and not by her primary care doctor.

Stewart is being represented by the Bennington County Public Defender's Office. She is scheduled to go to trial on March 15, 2016.

Contact Edward Damon at 413-770-6979


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