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Petrolia nurse arrested again on drug charges

Renatta Signorini
| Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2008

A nurse was arrested and arraigned Tuesday on charges she attempted to fraudulently obtain a prescription medication at a West Kittanning pharmacy in December, just months after another arrest on similar charges.

Stacy Ann Miller, 46, of 122 Sunbury St., Petrolia, was arrested by narcotic agent Lawrence J. Fuksa yesterday and arraigned before District Judge James Owen in Kittanning.

Miller is accused of attempting to obtain possession of a controlled substance with a fraudulent prescription on Dec. 5 at the Rite Aid Pharmacy in West Kittanning, according to a criminal complaint filed in the case. The prescription, for 360 Klonopin pills, was supposedly written by Dr. Richard A. Mercurio.

Klonopin is used to treat seizures and panic disorder.

Miller is a former employee of Mercurio's office.

She was arrested on Oct. 31 for allegedly fraudulently ordering prescription medication through Mercurio's office for personal use on several occasions and providing her credit card to pay for the medication, police said. The drugs were allegedly ordered from a wholesale distributor.

Fuksa said that based on his experience with the state bureau of narcotic investigation and drug control since 1990, he thinks Miller may have an addiction problem.

According to the complaint filed in Miller's arrest yesterday, the large amount of pills in the alleged prescription tipped off a pharmacist at Rite Aid, who then called Mercurio's office. According to the complaint, Miller came through the drive-through pharmacy and asked if she had any refills left on her Klonopin prescription.

The pharmacist told Miller that there weren't any refills left and Miller allegedly handed the pharmacist the prescription with no fill date on it, according to the complaint.

The pharmacist contacted Mercurio's office to verify the prescription, according to the complaint. After receiving a faxed copy of the prescription, Mercurio advised the pharmacist and Fuksa that he had not prescribed the medication for Miller and that she is not a patient or employee of his, according to the complaint.

Fuksa contacted the pharmacist and advised her not to fill the prescription and not to give it back to Miller. According to the complaint, Miller left the pharmacy without incident.

In October's arrest, Miller allegedly provided her credit card for the prescription medication orders, police said. Two other nurses also are facing charges in the incidents.

In that case, Miller is facing charges of fraudulent acquisition of a controlled substance, criminal conspiracy, possession of a controlled substance, possession with intent to deliver and delivery of a controlled substance.

According to a criminal complaint in the previous case, Miller shared the orders of Hydrocodone and Alprazolam with one other nurse. Both women returned some of the drugs they ordered, according to their criminal complaints.

Hydrocodone is a narcotic pain reliever and Alprazolam is used to treat anxiety and panic disorders and symptoms of depression.

According to investigators, 5,500 Hydrocodone tablets, 900 Alprazolam tablets and eight 16-ounce bottles of Hydrocodone syrup were shipped to and received at Mercurio's office. Miller told police she used some of the drugs herself and gave others to a family member.

Miller is awaiting plea court in that case.

Miller was released on $5,000 unsecured bail yesterday, which means she does not have to post bail, although she would forfeit the amount if she violates any of the terms of her release.

Her preliminary hearing for the recent charges is scheduled for Jan. 16 at 11 a.m. Fuksa said two pharmacists and Mercurio are expected to testify.

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