The Washington Post tries to untangle what it calls the tangled story of Cindy McCain’s battle with prescription painkillers, which she says she stopped taking in 1992. Her misuse of painkillers prompted an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration and local prosecutors that put her in legal jeopardy. A doctor with McCain’s medical charity who supplied her with prescriptions for the drugs lost his license and never practiced again.
McCain faced federal charges of obtaining “a controlled substance by misrepresenting, fraud, forgery, deception or subterfuge.” She could have faced a 20-year prison sentence. She negotiated a deal with the U.S. attorney’s office allowing her, as a first-time offender, to avoid charges and enter a diversion program that required community service, drug treatment, and reimbursement to the DEA for investigative costs.