BRIDGEWATER, N.S. -- A Nova Scotia doctor has been charged with drug trafficking after police accused her of prescribing 50,000 potent opiate pills to a hospital patient who never received them.

Bridgewater police said Wednesday that 35-year-old Sarah Dawn Jones wrote prescriptions for oxycodone and oxyneo pills of a variety of dosages over a one-year period.

Police Chief John Collyer says it's alleged the physician prescribed the powerful painkillers for a patient at the local hospital, but picked up the prescriptions herself at a Bridgewater pharmacy.

He said he's concerned that a doctor is at the centre of the case, in a province that's seen a series of deaths of young people tied to illegally circulating prescription drugs.

"The trafficking of prescription narcotics is a problem throughout Nova Scotia. We've had a number of high profile deaths over the years, so we take it very seriously," he said in a telephone interview.

Jones is also accused of possession of narcotics for the purpose of trafficking, theft, breach of trust, drawing a document without authority and fraud.

Collyer said the seven-month investigation showed the alleged dosages of the opiates range from low levels to "some of the highest" available, with most in pill form.

"It's probably fair to say that most of those narcotics are out there in the community," he said during a telephone interview.

Jones worked at the Crossroads Family Practice in the Halifax suburb of Tantallon, but the province's College of Physicians and Surgeons says she's under an interim suspension and has stopped practising.

She's been released from custody and is scheduled to appear in provincial court in Bridgewater on May 11.

Dr. Gus Grant, registrar of the college, said the matter was reported to investigators at the regulatory body on Aug. 21 by a clinical pharmacist.

"We acted on that concern that day," he said.

"The amount of medications at issue and the nature of the criminal charges are both serious and disturbing."

-- By Michael Tutton in Halifax