Dr. Merideth Norris of Kennebunk walks into federal court in Portland in February with her attorney Tim Zerillo. Norris is charged with 16 counts of illegally prescribing opioids. Gregory Rec/Staff Photographer

Federal prosecutors have introduced the patients behind a 16-count indictment against a Kennebunk doctor on trial in U.S. District Court on charges that she wrote life-threatening prescriptions without a legitimate medical purpose.

The patients’ names were withheld, due to the sensitive medical information being shared, nor were they present for jurors to see.

Instead, Dr. Timothy E. King spent several hours on the stand Wednesday, describing his impressions of each patient and their medical treatment by Dr. Merideth Norris, who is facing multiple counts of illegal distribution of controlled substances.

Each count represents a prescription Norris wrote for five patients. Prosecutors believe Norris prescribed these controlled substances, mostly opioids, without a legitimate medical purpose and knowingly put her clients at risk.

Norris has denied the allegations. She has waited nearly two years for trial after she was arrested and her office was raided in October 2022.



King is a medical doctor in Michigan whom the Department of Justice retained in 2023 to help build their case against Norris. He reviewed many of her patient records, including appointment notes and prescriptions, which were were shown in court in Portland on Wednesday.

“This was, in my opinion, some of the most egregious and dangerous prescribing that I have seen over my 50 years, to an incredibly vulnerable group of individuals suffering from mental illness, addiction and severe emotional distress,” King testified.

The patients, who ranged from their 30s to their 60s, all had reported histories with substance use disorder. They came to Norris with various reports of pain, for which King said she prescribed different forms of opioids – fentanyl patches, methadone and even oxycodone for one man’s reports of acute dental pain.

King said these patients also appeared to be actively using non-prescribed controlled substances during their time with Norris, with her knowledge. She received calls about patients diverting drugs, and could see it in their drug tests. Still, King said, Norris didn’t change her prescribing.

King cited several other red flags from his review of Norris’ records.

One patient worked for Norris, which King said “disallows a doctor to make a dispassionate, logical decision for the patient.”


Another patient continued to receive the same controlled substances from Norris’ prescriptions even after he used them to attempt suicide. His mental health was growing worse under Norris’ treatment, King said.

King testified that Norris was prescribing these patients sedatives and stimulants while they were on opioids that put them at greater risk of overdose.


King testified Wednesday that he is certified in addiction medicine and pain management. He has treated patients for nearly 50 years in the Chicago area and northern Michigan, he said.

Norris is a long-time doctor of osteopathy Maine, who also is certified in addiction medicine.

Not only did she run her own practice in Kennebunk, Graceful Recovery, but she also worked for a several clinics that offered medication assisted treatment. Norris served hundreds of patients, all of whom were scrambling to find care after her arrest.


Norris is an outspoken critic of Maine laws limiting opioid prescriptions. In a letter to the Portland Press Herald in 2017, Norris compared the new laws to the Prohibition Era and pushed for more peer support programs for people in recovery and “comprehensive, integrated treatment programs.”

This stance put Norris at odds with much of King’s testimony Wednesday, during which he explained the limited benefits and extreme dangers of opioids, which are highly addictive. He told the jury opioids should be treated as a last resort, prescribed only if they can make things better.

“I did not see in my review of Dr. Norris’ patients that there was any improvement in pain, improvement in function, or quality of life,” King said. “To the contrary, I saw these worsening.”

Norris’ lawyers did not have a chance Wednesday to question King, who spent hours on the stand criticizing Norris, who sat only feet away behind her attorneys. Her supporters have filled her side of the courtroom this week, including former colleagues, who often shook their heads at King’s testimony. At one point, U.S. District Judge Nancy Torresen warned them to keep quiet after hearing reports of muttering from the gallery.

The defense will likely spend just as long questioning King, whose credibility they’ve questioned in pre-trial filings. Norris’ attorneys also have complained that prosecutors didn’t share all of their evidence early enough before trial, putting them at a disadvantage when it comes to questioning witnesses and challenging the government’s allegations.

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