Rise in opioid overdose deaths

This graphic from the Centers for Disease Control illustrates the three waves in which communities across the U.S. have been overwhelmed by the opioid epidemic since 1997.

BRUNSWICK, Ga. — A pharmacist from southern Georgia is heading to federal prison after pleading guilty to a crime involving fraud and illegal distribution of opioids.

Ray Ashley Dixon, 42, of Baxley was sentenced to four years in prison by a U.S. District Court judge Friday. Dixon owned Fulghum Pharmacy, where prosecutors say he gave opioids including oxycodone and hydrocodone to several people without prescriptions and billed insurers for more than $1.8 million in fake prescriptions, the office of U.S. Attorney Bobby Christine said in a news release.

Dixon pleaded guilty to a single count of conspiracy. Prosecutors said agents from the Drug Enforcement Agency found that Dixon’s pharmacy was unable account for more than 10,000 units of controlled drugs. Authorities said he will be required to pay back the $1.8 million.

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