Former pharmacist and county commissioner discusses his battle with addiction with Hopkinsville newspaper

Jeremy Bowles, a former pharmacist and county commissioner in Montgomery County, Tennessee, was convicted of drug and forgery charges, and now he’s discussing his experience to help others find freedom from their addictions, Steve Breen writes for Kentucky New Era in Hopkinsville.

“I want to be a message-bearer,” Bowles said. Addiction “happened to me as it happens to a lot of people, and people deserve a second chance.” While Bowles worked as a pharmacist at Jennie Stuart Medical Center in Hopkinsville, his addiction got so bad that he took blank prescription pads and forged doctor’s signatures and cashed them at two different pharmacies. The police caught him when he attempted to use a fake paper at a Walgreens pharmacy in Clarksville.

“He was later indicted in Tennessee on four counts of obtaining a controlled substance by forgery and one count of identity theft,” Breen reports. “In Kentucky, Bowles was indicted on nine counts of theft of a prescription blank, three counts criminal possession of a forged prescription, theft of a controlled substance and first-degree promotion of contraband.”

Bowles was required to pay $754 in restitution, sentenced to five years of pretrial diversion and given 60 days in jail. However, the jail time may be exchanged for community service. During the sentence, he is not allowed to practice pharmacy in Kentucky.

Bowles said his downhill slide began after he was robbed at gunpoint in 2009 while working at a Clarksville pharmacy and he had to take anti-anxiety medication following the incident. “It became a crutch down the road,” he said. “You start out with something prescribed, and it helps you, and you want to keep using it, and it just snowballed from there.”

After he was arrested in Tennessee, Bowles went to a rehabilitaiton center in Knoxville for 120 days before going to the Christian County Jail to deal with his Kentucky charges, Breen writes. Bowles said he is glad his family and friends have helped him throughout the difficulties: “I’ve really changed my life 180 degrees. What I look for now in life is: God comes first, others second and myself third.”

He will probably continue working his current job as a consultant for a media company until the suspension of his Tennessee license is lifted. Also he helps out in his 12-step recovery program by serving as a sponsor for two addicts. He said he doesn’t have any plans to return to politics. (Read more; subscription required)

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