A doctor from Kennebunk, Maine was arrested this week after allegedly prescribing opioids and other controlled substances without justification.
Merideth C. Norris, 52, was indicted on 10 counts of illegal distribution of opioids and other controlled substances.
If convicted, a federal judge could sentence Norris to up to 20 years in prison, based on sentencing guidelines and various statutory factors.
Norris is the first person to be arrested and charged by the New England Prescription Opioid, or NEPO, Strike Force, which was launched on June 29, 2022, to target the unlawful prescribing of opioids.
When the force was launched, Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite, Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division said it would primarily target criminal conduct by physicians, pharmacists, and other medical professionals, focusing on health care fraud and drug diversion offenses.
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In a statement on Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Justice said Norris allegedly prescribed opioids and other controlled substances outside of her professional practice and without a medical purpose.
She was released from custody, but one of the conditions of Norris’s release is that she cannot prescribe any Schedule II-V controlled substances.
Members of the FBI, Department of Health and Human Services Offices of the Inspector General, and DEA are investigating Norris’s case.
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Additionally, Principal Assistant Deputy Chief Kilby Macfadden and Trial Attorneys Patrick Queenan and Thomas Campbell of the Criminal Division’s Fraud section are prosecuting the case.
The NEPO Strike Force says its mission is to locate, investigate, and prosecute health care fraud schemes in New England and those who engage in the illegal distribution of prescription opioids.
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