Former physician pleads guilty in prescription drug abuse case

Former shoreline physician Scott W. Houghton, charged two years ago with 47 felony crimes involving narcotics prescriptions, pleaded guilty Tuesday to five charges and is expected to receive a suspended prison sentence in November.

Houghton, 45, of Madison, had practiced medicine in Old Saybrook and Westbrook. State and federal drug control agents began investigating him after receiving complaints that he prescribed drugs so readily that drug addicts called him "the candy man." Arrested in 2011, Houghton surrendered his license to practice medicine and had his prescription licenses revoked.

While the case was pending, defense attorney William F. Dow had argued for accelerated rehabilitation, a pretrial diversionary program in which the charges would be dismissed following successful completion of a probationary period. Prosecutor Russell C. Zentner opposed the application and Judge David P. Gold denied it in June, citing the seriousness of the charges.

The attorneys and Gold resumed plea discussions, reaching a deal that was put on the record Tuesday in Middlesex Superior Court. Houghton pleaded guilty to two counts of sale of narcotics, one count of sale of a controlled substance and failure to provide security for a controlled substance. At the Nov. 26 sentencing, Gold is expected to give Houghton a fully suspended sentence followed by a period of probation.


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