Sarasota sheriff: Bradenton woman illegally obtained 600 pain pills

SARASOTA -- A 23-year-old Bradenton woman has been charged with using using fraudulent prescriptions from the Sarasota County Health Department to buy 600 Oxycodone pills from several area pharmacies in 21 days, according to the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office.

Detectives found that Stephanie Ward was using the fraudulent prescriptions, which listed the name of a prescribing physician who no longer worked there, to obtain pills at CVS, Walgreens, Publix Pharmacy and Barclay Pharmacy locations in Venice and Sarasota, according to a news release. The investigation started in May.

“This is a textbook example of the pharmaceutical drug problem and one very effective solution being implemented in Sarasota County,” Sheriff Tom Knight said in a news release. “Because of the relationships that have been established, a pharmacy contacted the Sarasota County Health Department, who worked with our Pharmaceutical Diversion Investigative Unit, which issued an alert regarding Ward to area pharmacies, resulting in these significant charges being filed.”

Ward is being held in the Sarasota County Jail on more than $500,000 bond.