LYNCHBURG, Va. (WFXR) – A former veterinarian from Madison Heights pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor drug charges.

Patrick Gries, 54, pleaded guilty last week to one count of adulteration of a drug held for sale after shipment in interstate commerce and one count of distribution of a controlled substance without a written prescription, the U.S. Department of Justice announced on Monday, Jan. 24.

According to court documents, from 1994 through 2021, Gries practiced as a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine at a veterinary hospital in Amherst County which held hydromorphone for sale — an opioid also known under the trade name of “Dilaudid” — and maintained supplies of hydromorphone for use in treating pain in the hospital’s animal patient’s following surgeries.

Gries was the hospital’s primary surgeon, so he had full access to the hospital’s supply of hydromorphone.

Starting 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.

Court documents say 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 use the supply maintained by the hospital.