Virginia veterinarian sentenced for opioid theft
Former veterinarian sentenced to 8 months in federal prison over theft
Patrick Gries, 54, was sentenced to 8 months in federal prison after admitting and pleading guilty to stealing opioids from the veterinary clinic where he worked for almost 2 decades.
“Health care professionals, including veterinarians, who take needed medications from their patients not only harm the patients but also put at risk the trust that consumers have in those who provide medical care to their companion animals,” said special agent in charge George Scavdis, FDA Office of Criminal Investigations - Metro Washington Field Office, in an organizational release.1 “We will continue to investigate and bring to justice those who put the safety and health of pets at risk by tampering with their patients’ medications.”
From 1994 to 2021, Gries was a surgeon at VCA Amherst Hospital in Amherst County, Virginia. As the hospital's primary surgeon, Gries had access to the hospital's supplies of Dilaudid and began withdrawing portions of the drug from its vials and injecting himself. According to the release,1 he would replace the stolen substances with another substance, typically butorphanol or saline, and then return the altered drug back into inventory.
“When health care professionals put the well-being of others at risk, they violate the trust placed in them by the public and will be held accountable. My Office will continue to prioritize these cases throughout the Western District of Virginia,” United States Attorney Christopher R. Kavanaugh expressed.1
According to the release, Gries pled guilty to 1 count of adulteration of a drug held for sale after shipment in interstate commerce and 1 count of distribution of a controlled substance without a written prescription in January 2022.
This case was investigated by the FDA – Office of Criminal Investigations, the DEA— Diversion Control Division, and the Virginia State Police. Assistant US Attorney Michal Baudinet was the case prosecutor.
Amherst county veterinarian sentenced for opioid theft. The United States Department of Justice. June 22, 2022. Accessed June 29, 2022. https://www.justice.gov/usao-wdva/pr/amherst-county-veterinarian-sentenced-opioid-theft