Hurricane doctor found guilty of illegally prescribing opioids

Crime

HURRICANE, WV (WOWK) A federal jury returned a guilty plea today for a Hurricane doctor accused of unlawfully distributing opioids to his patients. 

Ricky L. Houdersheldt, D.O., 68, of Hurricane, was found guilty of 17 counts of distribution of controlled substances outside the scope of professional practice and without a legitimate medical purpose. 

According to the evidence presented at trial, Houdersheldt prescribed hydrocodone, morphine, fentanyl, oxycodone, acetaminophen codeine phosphate and diazepam to three patients. 

According to the United States Department of Justice, Houdersheldt prescribed more than 150 opioid pills to one woman, “in an effort to establish a sexual relationship and companionship with her.”

Justice officials say Houdersheldt prescribed more than seven times the dosage of opioid drugs recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He also “commonly” prescribed a patient the “dangerous combination” of morphine and the opioid fentanyl, officials say.

Sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 23, before U.S. District Judge Robert C. Chambers of the Southern District of West Virginia, who presided over the trial.

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