HANOVER – A South Carolina woman was charged Tuesday with scamming health care providers in Lewiston and surrounding towns in order to obtain prescription drugs.

Investigators said on several occasions the suspect brought her 9-year-old stepdaughter with her to doctors’ offices in an attempt to get additional drugs prescribed.

Laura Ann Taylor, 42, was arrested on seven counts of acquiring drugs by deception when drug agents went to a camper she was living in in Hanover.

While police made the arrest, child protection officials took custody of the suspect’s step daughter, who was living with her at the time.

Taylor was being held on $200,000 bail at the Oxford County Jail. Meanwhile, FBI agents were attempting to help confirm the woman’s identity through fingerprints.

Investigators said Taylor was known to use at least a half dozen aliases while defrauding medical officials here and in South Carolina.

Maine Drug Enforcement Agency Supervisor Gerry Baril said since the middle of May, Taylor has been scheming to get prescriptions written from physicians in Lewiston, Rumford and Bethel.

“She has been in the area for just three or four weeks and she was able to deceive three different doctors,” Baril said.

Drug investigators call it “doctor shopping.” Police said Taylor would visit a physician and complain of pain or some ailment that could not be immediately diagnosed. The physicians prescribed her the painkiller Vicodin and the sedative Valium.

“The physicians rely on the honesty of the patient,” Baril said.

Investigators said Taylor then had the prescriptions filled at pharmacies in Mexico and Rumford. Only Baril said she was not using the drugs for pain and anxiety – Vicodin, if crushed and either snorted or injected, creates a high similar to that of heroin.

Taylor is also accused of attempting to obtain the drug Adderall, an amphetamine used in the treatment of Attention Deficit Disorder in children.

Baril said in those attempts, Taylor would bring her young stepdaughter to the doctor’s office and claim the girl suffered from the affliction. The 9-year-old does not, Baril said. Instead, Taylor wanted the Adderall for her own consumption, he said.

“When it’s used by an adult who does not suffer from Attention Deficit Disorder, the drug acts like a stimulant just like cocaine,” Baril said.

Investigators said Taylor has a history of similar tactics to acquire prescription drugs in North Carolina. Baril said the Valium is used by addicts who are coming down from the high obtained through other drugs.

On Wednesday, Taylor’s stepdaughter remained in protective custody by the Department of Human Services.

Police said Taylor was living in a camper at Stonybrook Campground with her husband and the young girl. The husband was not charged in the raid.

Baril said drug officials continue to investigate the tactics of “doctor shopping” as more and more people seek to obtain prescription drugs that mimic the effects of heroin or cocaine.

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