Unlicensed Smithfield substance abuse center was in woman’s maiden name, officials say

SMITHFIELD, N.C. (WNCN) — A Cumberland County woman is facing multiple charges after police say she operated a substance abuse counseling center in Smithfield without a license, embezzled money from the business and prescribed drugs illegally.

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Demetria Zanita Brooks, 42, was the executive director of The Raven, a substance abuse counseling center located at 1652 Booker Dairy Road.

Records show the center’s owner is Demetria Gore, which the Cumberland County Register of Deeds’ Office confirmed is Brooks’ maiden name.

According to the North Carolina Substance Abuse Professional Practice Board, Demetria Gore or Demetria Brooks is not and has never been licensed. The Board says they’ve been in contact with Smithfield Police and provided them with that same information.

Following an investigation that lasted two months, Brooks has been charged with embezzlement, substance abuse counseling without a license, and authorizing prescriptions without a physician’s authorization, police said.

Police said Brooks also worked the Garner Lighthouse.

CBS North Carolina spoke with the director there. Rick Fleming told us Brooks was the finance director there – a volunteer position. He said the embezzlement charge stems from money missing from their account. They’re still working to determine the full extent of it.

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According to police, the investigation started after employees and patients came forward. They were then able to develop probable cause to believe that Brooks was improperly administering substance abuse treatment and had also conducted counseling without proper licenses.

“I’m shocked because I never thought that. I never thought that was going on there,” said neighbor Mary Fowler.

Investigators are asking that anyone who has received substance abuse treatment from Brooks at either business between May 2016 and today contact the Smithfield Police Department’s Narcotics Division at 919-934-2121.

Police said more charges are expected in the case.

Brooks was given a $35,000 secured bond, which she made.

The N.C. Substance Abuse Professional Practice Board allows people to search and verify credentials at their website.

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