Ripley County chief deputy sheriff charged with prescription drug abuse

RIPLEY COUNTY, Ind. - An Indiana chief deputy sheriff has been charged with several felonies after investigators said he went to five different doctors and got several different prescriptions for a controlled substance within two years -- all while he already had a current prescription for the drug.

Indiana State Police (ISP) said Wednesday, Ripley County prosecuting attorney Ric Hertel charged Chief Deputy Sheriff Joe "David" Pippin with six Class-D felony counts of acquiring a controlled substance by deceit.

ISP investigators said Pippin acquired and filled prescriptions for hydrocodone (a schedule-II controlled substance) from five separate medical practitioners at multiple pharmacies in less than a 2-year period without disclosing he was already currently prescribed hydrocodone.

Detectives said Pippin's prescription drug use was brought to their attention by his former sister-in-law, and doctors' and pharmacy records were used to verify it.

The probable cause affidavit said that in one 55-day period in 2012, Pippin filled prescriptions for nearly 500 hydrocodone pills. It said from August 2011 to July 2013, Pippin filled prescriptions for 2,825 hydrocodone pills total. Investigators said multiple doctors told them had they known Pippin already had a prescription, they would not have written him another one.

The probable cause affidavit said upon being interviewed by investigators, Pippin told them he didn't view himself as a "doctor shopper" but the records might suggest otherwise. He reportedly said taking the hydrocodone was his "dirty little secret" and that if he quit taking them he would "have withdrawals because of the physical dependency -- physical and psychological."

Prosecutor Hertel said prescription drug abuse has become an even bigger issue in the county and the enforcement of prescription drug abuse is serious, wherever it is discovered.



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