On Tuesday, July 30, 2019, Dr. James Henry Edwards, III, 72, of Fairhope, Alabama, appeared in court for an arraignment after being charged with drug distribution offenses, announced United States Attorney Louis v. Franklin, Sr. Until his arrest on July 11, 2019, Dr. Edwards was a practicing psychiatrist with offices in Opelika and Gulf Shores, Alabama.
The indictment charges Edwards with three counts of unlawfully distributing controlled substances by writing medically illegitimate prescriptions. Among the drugs Edwards is alleged to have unlawfully prescribed are: alprazolam, commonly known by its brand name version, “Xanax”; dextroamphetamine-amphetamine, commonly known by its brand name version, “Adderall”; hydrocodone, commonly known by its brand name versions, “Norco,” and “Lortab”; lisdexamfetamine, commonly known by its brand name version, “Vyvanse”; and diazepam, commonly known by its brand name version, “Valium.”
If convicted, Edwards faces a maximum sentence of 20 years’ imprisonment on each count. He also faces substantial monetary penalties and restitution.
An indictment merely alleges that crimes have been committed. The defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. At his arraignment, Edwards pleaded not guilty to each count. A trial is currently scheduled for December 2, 2019 in Opelika. This case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Tactical Diversion Squad, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the United States Department of Health and Human Services – Office of Inspector General. Assisting on the case were: the Opelika, Alabama Police Department; the Alabama Board of Medical Examiners; the Gulf Shores, Alabama Police Department; the United States Department of Defense – Office of Inspector General; and the Alabama Department of Public Health. Assistant United States Attorneys Jonathan S. Ross, Megan A. Kirkpatrick, and Alice S. LaCour are prosecuting the case.