Physician pleads guilty to unlawful possession of controlled substance

Doctor Lawrence L. Parris of Bothell, a board-certified Washington physician, appeared May 28 in federal district court in Seattle and entered a guilty plea to unlawful possession of a controlled substance in violation of federal law. This offense is punishable by up to one year in prison, a $100,000 fine and a period of supervised release of up to one year. The court is also required to impose a mandatory fine of $1,000, and may assess the defendant the reasonable costs of investigation and prosecution of the offense.

Court documents indicate that during 2007, Parris, 57, was a Washington licensed medical doctor employed at Inglewood Family Health, a family health clinic in Bothell. Between January 2007 through August 2007, Parris unlawfully removed from the clinic and possessed for his own unlawful use, quantities of meperidine, a Schedule II controlled substance, in the form of injectable Demerol, which he then consumed. This occurred on multiple occasions during 2007. Parris knew that what he was doing was wrong and that he was not authorized to divert such medicines from the clinic. Further, such drugs were not possessed by Parris pursuant to any lawful prescription. Parris concealed his conduct by making false entries in patient records indicating that the drugs had been dispensed and administered to patients, whereas in fact they had been diverted to his own use.

In October 2007, during an interview with Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) investigators, Parris admitted unlawfully taking Demerol from the clinic on at least 4-6 occasions during 2007. Parris has surrendered his DEA registration to authorities and is participating in drug treatment.

Sentencing for Parris is scheduled for August 27, before United States Magistrate Judge James P. Donohue in Seattle.