Local doctor arrested on drug charges

PNT Staff Report

A Portales doctor was arrested Thursday in Belen on a charge of trafficking methadone, according to the Roosevelt County Sheriff’s Office.
Dr. Patricia Green, 54, operates the Sparrow Family Medical Clinic, 1500 S. Ave. D.

Officers found out Green was working at a clinic in Belen and contacted Valencia County officials, who made the arrest, according to Chief Deputy Malin Parker.

Parker said the sheriff’s office also executed a search warrant at Sparrow Family Medical Clinic.

The arrest and search were the result of an investigation that took place over two years, Parker said.

The investigation began after contacts with known drug users revealed prescriptions issued by Green were being sold or traded for other drugs, according to a news release from the sheriff’s office.

Sheriff’s officials said the arrest was made after Green wrote a prescription for methadone to an undercover agent with the Region V Drug Task Force posing as a heroin addict.

During an office visit, Green told him that she was not allowed to issue the methadone as a substitute for heroin, only for pain, the release said.

Even though the agent said he was not in pain, she prescribed methadone anyway and then began coaching him on what to say when filling the prescription, according to the news release.

Methadone is used for the treatment of narcotic (such as heroin) withdrawal and dependence, according to the Office of National Drug Control Policy.

Green was booked in to the Valencia County Detention Center and her bond was set at $10,000 cash only. She was still in jail as of 7:30 p.m. Thursday.

Green’s home phone number is unlisted. An individual speaking for the clinic’s answering service said she had no contact with Green and was told only that the office was closed until further notice.

The charge is a second-degree felony and carries a maximum of nine years in the department of corrections.

Green has been in the medical practice for 22 years, according to the news release.

The New Mexico Medical Board governs licensure of doctors in the state.