Libby Therapist Gets Probation in Pain Pill Conspiracy

U.S. District Judge Susan Watters sentenced Kevin Criswell on Wednesday in Billings

By Dillon Tabish

BILLINGS — A physical therapist who pleaded guilty to stealing prescription pain medication from patients’ homes in the Scobey area and replacing it with aspirin or Tylenol has been sentenced to four years of probation and ordered to complete a six-month residential drug treatment program.

U.S. District Judge Susan Watters sentenced Kevin Criswell on Wednesday in Billings. Criswell, 31, pleaded guilty in May to conspiracy to acquire a controlled substance by subterfuge, The Billings Gazette reported.

Prosecutors allege Criswell and physical therapy assistant Cal Handran worked together to take hydrocodone and oxycodone from patients from January 2011 through August 2012 during home health visits while they worked for Daniels Memorial Health Center.

Handran said he would work with a patient while Criswell went through the house looking for prescription medications, or sometimes they switched roles. Handran said the drugs were for personal use.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Brendan McCarthy said investigators identified 91 victims.

Handran, 33, is scheduled to be sentenced Thursday. The Board of Physical Therapy Examiners suspended his license on Aug. 21.

Criswell was able to keep his license but had to meet several conditions including undergoing chemical dependency counseling, group therapy and Narcotics Anonymous meetings for a year. He also must have weekly supervision and submit to drug screens.

During his plea hearing, Criswell said he had undergone three months of outpatient treatment, four months of counseling and was a member of a recovery support group.

Criswell, who now works in Libby, played basketball at the University of Montana from 2002-2006. The Colstrip native is Montana’s No. 4 career scorer with 1,663 points.

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