Velma Powell

The Washington Post
College Park Psychiatrist, 2 Aides Sentenced in Prescription Case
By Paul W. Valentine
May 11, 1990

— Excerpt

A College Park psychiatrist and two of her assistants have been sentenced on charges of improperly prescribing drugs to scores of patients.

A social worker and an unlicensed therapist working for the psychiatrist, Velma E.L. Powell, illegally wrote prescriptions on slips signed in advance by Powell, prosecutors said. The assistants also switched patients’ medications and dosages for powerful tranquilizers and pain killers such as Valium and Demerol, often with little supervision by Powell, according to the prosecutors.

Under Maryland law, only physicians can prescribe drugs…

The case against Powell, 41, therapist Joyce V. Woods, 45, and social worker Karen E. Fryer, 35, came after an undercover probe in which investigators posed as patients at Powell’s office and a Baltimore grand jury subpoenaed office records that prosecutors said were fabricated or altered.

Powell was fined the maximum $100,000 in Prince George’s County Circuit Court on April 3 on charges of illegally prescribing drugs and conspiring with Woods and Fryer to enable them to practice medicine without licenses…