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Parents charged in high school OD case
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Forsyth County News

The fallout from an incident earlier this month at South Forsyth High School continues to mount, though authorities say the most recent arrests are likely the last in the drug case.

The parents of the 16-year-old student who reportedly brought liquid methadone on campus have been charged in connection with the incident.

Deborah Pendleton, 45, and Oscar Carter III, 64, both of Friarbridge Drive in south Forsyth, each face one count of possession of a Schedule 2 narcotic.

In addition, Pendleton was charged with improper storage of a controlled substance and Carter was charged with conspiracy to improperly store a controlled substance. All three charges are felonies.

They were released late Friday from the Forsyth County Detention Center after each posted $22,220 bond, a jail spokesman said. They could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

The girl brought the liquid methadone from home, sheriff's investigators say, and they hope the arrests are a wake-up call for parents.

"This reaffirms the fact that these prescription narcotics are being accessed at home," Lt. Col. Gene Moss said.

"Parents can't take for granted that their kids are not getting into their drugs. They're either using them or selling them."

Three 15-year-old male students, whose identities have not been released, were hospitalized Oct. 3 after authorities say they ingested liquid methadone on campus. Each was hospitalized for several days.

According to the Web site for the National Drug Intelligence Center of the U.S. Department of Justice, methadone overdoses are "associated with severe respiratory depression, decreases in heart rate and blood pressure, coma, and death."

The boys were arrested last week and charged with possession of a Schedule 2 narcotic on school grounds. One also was charged with distribution. They have since been released to their parents.

The female student, whose identity has not been released, was arrested on campus Oct. 3 and charged with possession and sale of a Schedule 2 narcotic on school grounds. Authorities have said she is in custody at the Regional Youth Detention Center in Gainesville.

The charges the teens face are all felonies.

Liquid methadone is a synthetic narcotic administered in pills, liquid or injections and used to treat addiction to other narcotics such as heroin. It is also prescribed as a painkiller for those suffering from cancer or other terminal illnesses.

Sheriff's Lt. Gus Sesan explained that the conspiracy charge was brought against Carter because he was storing liquid methadone in the home.

Sesan said Carter owns a methadone clinic in Louisiana, but brought an unspecified quantity of the drug to Pendleton's residence after a recent hurricane.

"He was not licensed to possess or dispense liquid methadone in the state of Georgia," Sesan said.

Moss said Carter did not take the drug back to the clinic, which gave the girl access to it.

Forsyth County Sheriff Ted Paxton has said the girl told authorities she thought the liquid was hydrocodone and it was not until later the day of the incident, during an interview with her parents, that authorities identified the drug.

"She wasn't even clearly aware of what the substance was that she had taken and given to these kids," Paxton said.

According to a fact sheet published online by, clinics and hospitals that administer methadone must follow federal regulations that restrict the drug's use and availability.

Moss said the investigation did not reveal evidence that Carter intended to distribute the methadone or sell it in Forsyth County.

Two other South Forsyth students have been arrested on drug charges this month. The first arrest was in an unrelated incident Oct. 3 and the second came Thursday during a sweep of the school. Both were misdemeanor marijuana charges.