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Whit Johnson reportingA medical assistant who worked at a clinic in Tooele is now charged with multiple felony counts of forging prescriptions. It happened at the University of Utah Community Clinic at Stansbury.
Authorities don't believe this was widespread crime, rather that she used the prescriptions for her own, personal use. The Tooele County Sheriff's office says 23-year old Sharon Hessler had an Oxycodone prescription for back pain.
As a medical assistant at the clinic, she had access to several fax machines. Police say she would simultaneously fax the same prescription to several pharmacies in the area, then she would go pick them up.
All this happened in December and January. It was the clinic that found out about it and alerted authorities. Hessler was arrested last week and admitted to the crimes. She has been charged with 17 counts of prescription forgery.
Tooele County Sheriff Frank Park said, "This was a little peculiar because of the fact that she did have access to the fax machine at the clinic to deliver those prescriptions across the valley."
It seems to be another example of prescription drug abuse.
"I think that's exactly what it is. I think these people go for a good reason, for pain relief, and I think sometimes it just gets going," Sheriff Park said.
Hessler has since been released from the Tooele County Jail. The sheriff's office says she has no prior felony record, and it doesn't believe she was selling the drugs for profit.
Clinic officials say this sort of thing doesn't happen very often, and they have a system in place to catch the problem when it occurs.