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Authorities say Flowery Branch woman had relationship with doctor for opioids prescriptions
Local woman charged as part of $1 million drug ring
Rhonda Haugland
Rhonda Haugland

A Flowery Branch woman is accused of having a romantic relationship with a Milton doctor in exchange for opioid prescriptions, according to federal authorities.

Rhonda Haugland, 59, was charged in a federal indictment alleging opioid distribution “outside the usual course of professional medical practice and for no legitimate medical purpose.”

According to the indictment, Haugland and two other women “engaged in romantic relationships with (Joseph Lawson Burton, 76) in exchange for prescriptions for controlled substances” and for themselves and other individuals.

“In some instances, Burton never met the individual for whom he issued the controlled substance prescription,” according to the indictment.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office said Burton allegedly issued 1,100 prescriptions leading to more than 108,000 individual doses between July 2015 and this month. That included more than 66,000 30 mg oxycodone pills.

“As part of the conspiracy, (Haugland and others) would fill their prescriptions and sell the pills, and then obtain more prescriptions from Burton for other people, who paid them for getting the prescriptions,” according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

The Hall County Sheriff’s Office and Oakwood Police assisted in the investigation led by the Drug Enforcement Administration.

According to Multi-Agency Narcotics Squad Lt. Don Scalia, the street price for a 30 mg oxycodone pill would be $20-30. The oxycodone pills alone would have a street value between $1,320,000 and $1,980,000.

Haugland was charged along with six other people from Acworth, Cartersville and Hiram. She is in federal custody, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

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