Spokane dentist pleads guilty to federal drug charges

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — A Spokane dentist has pleaded guilty to federal charges that he improperly prescribed painkillers.

The Spokesman-Review reports 50-year-old Dr. James Stein-Sheridan Shelby pleaded guilty Wednesday to one count of conspiring to distribute drugs and three counts of distributing hydrocodone without a legitimate medical purpose.

He was indicted on 31 counts of conspiracy and distribution of prescription drugs last June.

According to court documents, Shelby used the name of 36-year-old Timothy James Felch for prescriptions that were given to another patient. Felch pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge last year.

Documents say that Shelby was involved in an inappropriate relationship with a patient who became addicted to pain medication.

Shelby wrote 41 prescriptions for 2,116 tablets for the patient using Felch's name.

Shelby is scheduled to be sentenced May 15.

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Information from: The Spokesman-Review, http://www.spokesman.com