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Maine doctor convicted on multiple counts of illegally distributing opioids

PORTLAND, Maine — A Maine doctor who runs an addiction treatment center has been convicted of multiple charges of illegally distributing opioids, including oxycodone, hydromorphone and fentanyl.

Dr. Merideth Norris, 53, of Kennebunk, Maine, was found guilty in federal court Friday of distributing the opioids in her practice. According to court documents, she did this without a legitimate medical purpose and knew some patients were struggling with opioid addiction. According to court documents, she prescribed the drugs even after patients failed drug tests or were known to be redistributing the drugs in the community.

A federal jury convicted Norris of 15 counts of distributing a controlled substance, and she faces 20 years in prison for each count.

Prosecutors accused Norris of endangering the safety of her patients, according to the Portland Press Herald, and failing to heed warning signs such as failed drug tests among her patients or advice from insurance companies about prescribing dangerous combinations of opioids and other drugs.

Her defense team tried to argue that Norris helped patients reduce their medications and that the charges ignored the complexities of treating people addicted to opioids and struggling to find a doctor, the newspaper said.

Norris could not be reached for comment and her recovery center was closed on Saturday.

Norris has long been under scrutiny for her prescribing practices, including by pharmacists who refused to fill prescriptions she wrote. Walmart pharmacies also issued a “central block,” or nationwide ban, on filling prescriptions written by Norris.

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