A mother of four, serving two 20 year suspended sentences on probation, was remanded into the custody of Stephens County District Court and placed into the county jail Tuesday night. The courthouse had already been closed for more than an hour and a half when District Judge Joe Enos made his ruling on the revocation request submitted by the District Attorney’s office.
Brenda Edwards, 50, appeared in court on allegations that she had violated her probation, when she obtained prescription medicines from two different doctors, in late 2009.
Enos told Edwards’ attorney, Mark A. Clayborne, that he would consider a bond for the defendant, if Clayborne submitted that to the court. Edwards is scheduled to appear for sentencing on this violation at 10:30 a.m. June 17. Originally, Enos set the next court appearance for today, but due to scheduling conflicts, Clayborne would not be available. He also asked the judge for leniency on allowing Edwards out until the June hearing, so that she could get her affairs in order. Enos remained firm that she would be placed in custody, but he would consider the bond request. Enos did allow time for Edwards and her family to have final hugs before she was in custody.
Edwards probation was for obtaining prescriptions by fraud. She also has new charges pending in both Grady and Stephens counties.
Testimony provided by two doctors, a pharmacist, and a neighbor, took more than two hours as both the state and defense questioned them and covered the dates both doctors had seen Edwards and when prescriptions were written. It was up to the state to prove that Edwards had knowingly obtained the prescription drugs from two different doctors during the same time.
Called to testify by Assistant District Attorney Josh Creekmore were Dr. Ryan Johnson, of Chickasha, Dr. Clint Kirk, of Lawton, and pharmacist Brent Brennan, from Eastside Pharmacy in Lawton. The neighbor testified in a separate issue that the state withdrew its request on, which was alleging that Edwards violated her probation because she was in possession of stolen property. The ruling on the first violation though was enough to suspend her probation status.
Both doctors said they would not have written prescriptions if they had known Edwards already had the scheduled controlled drugs through another physician. Kirk testified he first saw Edwards Oct. 19, 2009, and was treating her for a rotator cuff tear. He had prescribed her hydrocodone and discussed with her during a pre-operative consult that he would not prescribe a higher level of drugs, mainly morphine, demerol and oxycontin.
“She didn’t ask for oxycontin, just her refills for the lortab (hydrocodone),” Kirk said. He wrote one refill on Nov. 18.
He told Creekmore and the court that one of the reasons he does not want patients doubling on their medication is it is potentially harmful and can cause a drug addiction. Creekmore also asked Kirk if he knew that Edwards was seeing another physician. He said he remembered her saying something about another doctor, but didn’t pay that much attention to it.
Enos did ask Kirk if during a screening period would that have revealed that Edwards had a tendency to be narcotic dependent, to which he said yes.
“If I had known she was getting Lortabs, I would have not (written her a prescription),” Kirk said.
Testimony also covered how many pills were in the prescriptions, how often they could be taken and when and where they were filled.
Johnson testified that he had Edwards sign a contract of which she was aware that she could be terminated as a patient if she did not follow. That included not seeing another doctor for pain medication. He said the idea is to help patients obtain a better quality of life, even if that means using pain medication, but in moderation. Edwards’ doctors also highlighted her list of ailments, from diabetes to back and leg injuries and high blood pressure. From Johnson, she had obtained prescriptions for oxycontin and lortab, on Dec. 3 and Dec. 31.
“We have adopted a zero tolerance policy and if a patient attempts to seek prescription from multiple doctors, we begin the termination process,” Johnson said. He said as of April 1, that process was in motion.
During the hearing, Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics Special Agent Chris Smith and Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation Agent Robert Williams, were also prepared to testify if necessary. Both are investigating officers in cases against Edwards.