The New England Opioid Strike Force, aka NEPO, assembled to combat the proliferation of opioid pills in the region, has announced its first arrest. The criminal case involves the illegal distribution of narcotics. Prosecutors say Dr. Merideth C. Norris illegally prescribed opioids without any legitimate medical purpose.
The Case Against Dr. Norris
Dr. Norris, who has a practice in Kennebunk, is accused of writing drugs to people without any medical purpose. Dr. Norris has been licensed to practice medicine in Maine since 2003, and has no public complaints about her practice. On her social media pages, she describes herself as an empathic, career-oriented working osteopathic physician. Her specialty is listed as pain medicine. She also says she works with clients on addiction recovery, obesity and others who live with chronic pain or illnesses. Norris has been licensed to practice medicine in Maine since 2003 and has no history of disciplinary action. Google and other review websites have enthusiastic reviews.
While she may be telling the truth about her day job, the DOJ says that she was selling prescriptions during her downtime. The DOJ says that she wrote illegal prescriptions outside of her regular medical practice and likely knew it was illegal.
Norris is being charged with 10 counts of illegal distribution of opioids and other drugs. The charges could add up to at least 20 years in prison if she is convicted.
About the NEPO Task Force
The New England Opioid Task for was brought to fruition in June, 2022. “The formation of the New England Prescription Opioid Strike Force provides the FBI and our law enforcement partners with important collective resources to combat health care fraud and drug diversion schemes within the region,” said Assistant Director Luis Quesada of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division. “The FBI will not tolerate those medical professionals willing to sacrifice patients’ health for their personal profit and will work tirelessly to root out and bring to justice those individuals who illegally distribute prescription opioids and other controlled substances.”
Individual states all have law enforcement working on their behalf, too, to halt the opioid overdose epidemic. “The formation of NEPO presents a tremendous opportunity for our three Northern New England states to disrupt the illegal prescription and distribution of opioids,” said U.S. Attorney Jane E. Young for the District of New Hampshire, said when the task force was announced. “As a state, we are grateful to the Department of Justice to be part of this initiative and excited that it will be based here in New Hampshire.”
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