A Gillette doctor has been indicted on 11 counts of distributing the powerful and potentially addictive painkillers hydrocodone and oxycodone, according to federal court records.

Dr. Thomas Clifford Davis, an ear, nose and throat specialist, heard the charges against him during his initial appearance before U.S. District Court Judge Scott Skavdahl on Thursday.

Davis, wearing an orange jail jumpsuit, quietly answered Skavdahl's questions and waived his right to hear each of the charges separately. He is temporarily being represented by attorneys Tom Smith and Frank Chapman of Casper.

The judge bundled the first 10 counts stating Davis "knowingly, intentionally, and willfully caused to be dispensed hydrocodone, a Schedule III controlled substance, without a legitimate medical purpose and outside the usual course of professional practice."

The separate counts occurred on dates from Nov. 3, 2010 to Aug. 19, 2011, according to the indictment.

If convicted, each count is punishable by up to five years imprisonment, up to a $250,000 fine, up to three years supervised release, and a $100 special assessment.

The 11th alleged offense occurred on Sept. 10, 2011, when Davis dispensed oxycodone, a Schedule II substance, without a legitimate medical purpose, according to the indictment.

If convicted, this count is punishable by up to 20 years imprisonment, up to a $1 million fine, three years supervised release, and a $100 special assessment.

Total penalties amount to to 70 years imprisonment, a $3.5 million fine, three years supervised release, and $1,100 in special assessments.

Hydrocodone is in a class of medications called opiate (narcotic) analgesics and in a class of medications called antitussives. It is available only in combinations with other ingredients, and is generally used to relieve pain and coughing, according to the PubMedHealth website of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

Oxycodone is available either by itself or in combination with other medications, such as aspirin or acetaminophen, according to PubMedHealth. It is used to relieve moderate to severe pain.

Skavdahl granted Davis release from custody on a $20,000 unsecured bond, and ordered him to surrender his passport, not travel widely without permission, and have no contact with any victims.

Because Davis works as a medical professional with employees who may be witnesses, Skavdahl allowed him to have contact with them but forbid him to communicate with them about the case.

Skavdahl set the doctor's arraignment, during which he enters a guilty or not guilty plea, for 2:30 p.m. Monday in the federal court in Casper.

Reach Tom Morton at 307-266-0592, or at tom.morton@trib.com. You can read his blog at trib.com and follow him on Twitter @GTMorton.

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