NEWTON, NJ -In today’s business world to reach the pinnacle of one’s career, you must have a passion to succeed as well as clearly defined goals and direction. For one Newton woman, that passion has a special name, DEA Compliance.

Her goal, to ensure compliance with the regulations set forth by the government for the safe and effective supply of controlled drug substances and listed chemicals for pharmaceutical and healthcare products without diversion. Given the drug epidemic in the U.S., including the rise in the abuse of opioids, heroin and meth currently in Sussex County, this goal is not just professional, it’s personal.

For Mary-Lou Schoonover, a life-long resident of Sussex County receiving an invitation from the United States Pharmacopeial Convention in Rockville, MD to join their DEA Compliance team was a once-in a lifetime opportunity. To their end, USP is getting a seasoned veteran in DEA Compliance whose impressive resume is a culmination of more than 17 years of hard work and dedication to regulatory compliance within the pharmaceutical and healthcare industry.

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USP is a scientific non-profit organization that sets standards for the identity, strength, quality, and purity of medicines, food ingredients, and dietary supplements manufactured, distributed and consumed worldwide. USP’s drug standards are enforceable in the U.S. by the Food and Drug Administration.  These standards are used and relied upon in more than 140 countries. Since its founding in 1820, USP has helped secure the quality of the American drug supply. Building on that legacy, USP today works with scientists, practitioners, and regulators of many nations to help protect global health.

When the position at USP opened, Schoonover knew her name had been mentioned by some industry colleagues however; she admits she was initially hesitant to submit her name for consideration.

“I knew I had the skill set, the passion and the drive that USP was looking for. Knowing I was going to have to relocate without my family was probably the hardest decision of all. We’d been through a tough spell and I wasn’t sure that the timing was right," said Schoonover.

Over the course of the next few months, there were numerous discussions with the family weighing the pros and cons.

Schoonover admits, “I think my family knew all along how much I really wanted this opportunity. I kept looking to them for reassurance that I was making the right decision. I said many, many prayers. I convinced myself that if it was meant to be it would happen. And, ultimately I took the leap of faith and submitted my name." 

The rest as they say is history.

Now, the smile on Schoonover’s face says it all.

“My family has been so incredibly supportive. We joke that it’s kind of like I’m going off to college. I get to come home on the weekends and for holidays. In reality, I am so thrilled to have this amazing opportunity to go to USP and share my passion for DEA Compliance with them. I finally feel like I’ve reached the point in my career where I can say with certainty, I’ve arrived, I’m making a difference and; I’m doing exactly what I was meant to do."

Schoonover is a graduate of Sussex County Technical High School in Sparta. She attended Kutztown University in Kutztown, PA and; received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration/Management from Centenary College in Hackettstown. She is a certified Senior Corporate Paralegal graduating with the highest scholarly distinction from the National Academy of Paralegal Studies in Middletown, NY. She is pursuing her Masters’ Degree in Corporate Compliance and hopes to finish by the Fall of 2017.

She currently serves on the Stewardship/Membership Committee of the National Association of State Controlled Substance Authorities where she has also served in the past on the Program Committee. Schoonover is widely recognized in industry and by the DEA for her contributions as a Subject Matter Expert in the area of imports and exports of controlled drug substances and listed chemicals. She begins her assignment at USP on June 13.