On September 2nd, 2015

A DCA Investigation: Santa Rosa Nurse Practitioner Pleads No Contest Allegedly prescribed more than 9,000 painkiller pills to immediate family members

csleaSANTA ROSA- As a result of a California Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA)  investigation and charges filed by the Sonoma County District Attorney's Office, a Santa Rosa nurse practitioner pleaded no contest in late August to a felony count of illegally issuing prescriptions.  Mary Carroll-Ambrose was originally charged with four felony counts for allegedly illegally issuing prescriptions for painkillers to her husband, daughter and son.

An investigation led by the Investigation and Enforcement Unit in the Hayward Field Office of the California Department of Consumer Affairs’ Division of Investigation found that Carroll-Ambrose wrote 48 prescriptions for opioid controlled substances to her immediate family members. The investigation revealed there were more than  9,000 pills prescribed over a two-year period. The pills included painkillers such as Norco, hydrocodone and codeine.

"This type of illegal activity is on the rise and must be investigated and prosecuted," said California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA) President Alan Barcelona.  "I commend the investigators who worked on this case and all of the state  investigators and agents who devote many hours to investigating the illegal issuing of prescriptions."

As a nurse practitioner, Carroll-Ambrose’s practice and prescribing was supposed to be supervised by a physician at her employer, Sutter Medical Center of Santa Rosa, but her supervising physician had not authorized Carroll-Ambrose to prescribe narcotics to her family members and he was unaware of her prescribing activity.  Additionally, there were no records to indicate that Carroll-Ambrose had been treating family members in the normal course of practice at the Sutter Medical Center.

Carroll-Ambrose is scheduled to  appear in court for sentencing on October 14, 2015.

On June 15, 2015, the Board of Registered Nursing filed an Accusation to pursue disciplinary action against Carroll-Ambrose’s nursing license, which can be read here.

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