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Doctor pleads guilty to large-scale opioid distribution

Last Updated Nov 29, 2018 at 5:56 am PDT

FILE: Prescription pill bottle containing oxycodone and acetaminophen is shown on June 20, 2012. Young children whose mothers have been prescribed an opioid are at an increased risk of being hospitalized for an overdose from the potent pain medications, most often through accidental ingestion, a study has found. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — A northern Virginia physician faces up to 20 years in prison after pleading guilty to using his pain clinic to illegally distribute more than 600,000 oxycodone pills.

Sixty-five-year-old Shriharsh Laxman Pole operated the Excel Medical Clinic in Woodbridge, even though his license had been suspended by the Virginia Board of Medicine for improper prescription of opiates.

Prosecutors at federal court in Alexandria say Pole worked with a nurse practitioner, 63-year-old Janelle Hibson of Fredericksburg, and another physician to prescribe oxycodone and other opiates, despite signs of drug-seeking behaviour from patients.

Hibson has already pleaded guilty in a separate case. Pole admitted to conspiring to distribute controlled substances Wednesday after other charges were dropped. His sentencing was set for March.