Ventura – When 43-year-old South Gate California resident Francesca Thompson made a trip into Ventura County to have her prescription for prescription painkillers filled by an Oxnard pharmacy, she didn’t anticipate the druggist behind the counter was experienced in the use and access of California’s drug monitoring database that tracks controlled substance prescriptions throughout the state.
According to Ventura County Sheriff’s Department spokesman Sgt. Victor Fazio, the “Controlled Substance Utilization Review and Evaluation System (CURES) is available to physicians, pharmacists, and law enforcement.” But because physicians aren’t required to register with CURES until July 1, 2016, full compliance with its use remains months away.
When “an alert Oxnard pharmacist” reported his denial of prescription services to Thompson based upon the fact that her CURES history indicated “she had visited dozens of doctors in the recent past and obtained thousands of pills of hydromorphone,” he filed a report with the Ventura County Interagency Pharmaceutical Crines Unit.
That report triggered an investigation that revealed Thompson had traveled throughout Southern California in recent months to receive prescriptions from no fewer than 72 different doctors.
Interviews of these physicians revealed, according to Fazio, “gross underutilization and lack of familiarity with CURES by physicians and pharmacists throughout Southern California.”
It was also determined that Thompson was on probation for prior activity of a similar nature, whereupon on January 13th she was contacted at her residence and taken into custody following a probation search that revealed her to be in possession of controlled substances as well as a handgun, both violations of her probation terms.
Thompson was transported to Ventura County Jail, where she was booked on probation violation as well as multiple charges related to her doctor shopping