Physician admits to illegally prescribing pain pills

BECKLEY, W.Va. (AP) — A physician had admitted to illegally prescribing pain pills in southern West Virginia, federal prosecutors said.

Dr. William Earley, 63, pleaded guilty to distributing oxycodone without a legitimate medical purpose.

Prosecutors said Earley worked at a Charleston pain clinic but had no formal training for treating chronic pain. Earley indicated that patient files were poorly kept and often contained little relevant medical information.

Earley admitted prescribing oxycodone to a patient who had reported his medication stolen. Earley did not conduct a physical examination and did not address the patient’s failed drug tests or the possibility of addiction or diversion, prosecutors said.

Earley faces up to 10 years in federal prison. His sentencing was set for May 11.

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Kassie Simmons joined the team in January 2019 as a weekend journalist. She graduated from Virginia Tech in just two and a half years with a BA in multimedia journalism. During her short time at Virginia Tech, she served as the editor for the university’s chapter of The Tab. Kassie was named the top reporter for The Tab at Virginia Tech on multiple occasions and made the list for the top 30 reporters for The Tab in the U.S. She also studied theater performance and minored in creative writing. Before coming to WOAY, Kassie interned at WSLS in Roanoke and the Tidewater Review in her hometown of West Point, Va. She has loved following breaking news since her childhood and has a passion for delivering the stories people care most about. Kassie is excited to be working in Southern West Virginia and looks forward to all the adventures ahead of her. You can follow her on Twitter at @KassieLSimmons and like her page on Facebook. If you have a story you think she should check out, send her an email at