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Veterans Alternative CEO tried to take unprescribed Xanax after verdict, Pasco sheriff’s office says

Brian Anderson was charged with felony possession of a controlled substance.
Veterans Alternative co-founder Brian Anderson was charged with possession of a controlled substance after he allegedly attempted to ingest an unprescribed Xanax following his battery conviction on Tuesday.
Veterans Alternative co-founder Brian Anderson was charged with possession of a controlled substance after he allegedly attempted to ingest an unprescribed Xanax following his battery conviction on Tuesday. [ Pasco County Sheriff's Office ]
Published Jul. 16
Updated Jul. 16

After a jury found him guilty of battery Tuesday, Veterans Alternative co-founder Brian Anderson tried to swallow a Xanax pill during booking, according to an arrest report from the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office.

Police charged Anderson with possession of a controlled substance, which is a felony.

Anderson had already been taken into custody to await a sentencing hearing. As a deputy searched him, Anderson pulled out a Ziploc bag from his pocket and attempted to ingest the small orange pill inside of it, a sheriff’s report said. The deputy intervened and recovered the pill, which Anderson identified as Xanax, the report continued.

Anderson said the round .5 milligram pill came from an old prescription for the drug filled by the Veterans Affairs hospital. But no record of a prescription was found when the Sheriff’s office contacted the hospital, CVS and Walgreens, the report said.

Anderson’s wife then told a deputy that the prescription was hers, the report added. Sheriff’s deputies then arrested Anderson for possession of a controlled substance without a prescription.

The federal government considers Xanax a Schedule IV drug. It can be legally prescribed and treats anxiety and panic disorder, but under Florida law, possession without a prescription is a third degree felony.

Anderson’s battery conviction stemmed from an incident in October 2020, when a massage therapist accused Anderson of inappropriately touching her.

Related: Women recount claims of sexual harassment by Pasco veterans' charity leader

In May, three other women said that while they worked at Veterans Alternative in its early years, Anderson made unwanted physical contact and sexual advances. Anderson, 39, co-founded the nonprofit in 2014.

Anderson is being held in the Pasco County Jail until his sentencing hearing, which Pasco County Judge Joseph Poblick moved to July 29 on Tuesday, saying he wanted more time to think about the case.