Former Virginia Veterinarian Pleads Guilty to Drug Charges
LYNCHBURG, Va. – A Madison Heights, Virginia man, and former veterinarian, pleaded guilty to a pair of drug charges related to his diversion of hydromorphone, an opioid drug also known under the trade name of “Dilaudid.”
Patrick Gries, 54, pleaded guilty last week to the adulteration of a drug held for sale after shipment in interstate commerce and the distribution of a controlled substance without a written prescription.
According to court documents, from 1994 through 2021, Gries practiced as a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine at a veterinary hospital in Amherst County, Virginia. The veterinary hospital held hydromorphone for sale and maintained supplies of hydromorphone for use in treating pain in the hospital’s animal patients following surgeries.
As the hospital’s primary surgeon, Gries had full access to the hospital’s supply of hydromorphone. Beginning in July 2020, and without a valid prescription, Gries diverted hydromorphone for personal use by withdrawing a portion of the hydromorphone from the vial and injecting it into himself. He would then replace the diverted portion of the hydromorphone with another substance, usually either saline or butorphanol, and then return the altered hydromorphone to the supply maintained by the hospital.
The DEA Washington Divison, Diversion Control group, the Food and Drug Administration - Office of Criminal Investigations, and the Virginia State Police investigated the case.