Johnston County

Smithfield addiction center director charged with operating without a license

The executive director of The Raven, a drug treatment center, was arrested by Smithfield police.
The executive director of The Raven, a drug treatment center, was arrested by Smithfield police. jdjackson@newsobserver.com

The executive director of a Smithfield drug treatment center was arrested earlier this month on embezzlement charges and operating without a license.

Demetria Zanita Brooks was arrested May 4 and faces three charges – embezzlement, substance abuse counseling without a license and authorizing prescriptions without a physician’s authorization, according to Smithfield police.

Brooks leads The Raven, a treatment center that opened in February.

Police Captain Ryan Sheppard said the arrest stems from interviews with former patients and workers of the center possibly going back more than a year. The two-month investigation continues.

Sheppard said additional charges are expected as investigators continue to gather information. He said the department wanted any other former Raven patients to come forward and offer information, as well as patients from the Garner Lighthouse, a substance abuse facility where Brooks previously worked.

Brooks was freed on a $35,000 bond.

Sheppard said the investigation started with anonymous tips from former patients, but that the case could escalate and be turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration.

“This is going to be a big case,” Sheppard said. “If necessary, it could be turned over to the federal government. We’re nowhere near being done. The sky is the limit on this.”

Brooks is essentially being charged with running a drug treatment center without the required certifications. Sheppard said one of the drugs Brooks allegedly prescribed without authorization is suboxone, which is commonly used to treat narcotic addiction.

The embezzlement investigation came later, and Sheppard said that part of the case is in its infancy.

It’s unclear if The Raven continues to operate. A call made during normal business hours was not answered.

Drew Jackson: 919-829-4577; @jdrewjackson

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