Former VA psychiatrist indicted on drug charges linked to Lawrence

A former psychiatrist at the Veterans Administration hospital in Topeka has been indicted on drug charges that have ties to Lawrence.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office said Thursday that Dr. Ethan E. Bickelhaupt was charged with five counts of diverting controlled substances and one count of obtaining a controlled substance by fraud.

Prosecutors said Bickelhaupt would have people who weren’t his patients fill prescriptions for controlled substances at pharmacies in Lawrence and Topeka. The individuals would then give him the drugs and sometimes be compensated with controlled substances or cash, prosecutors said. It’s unclear whether VA patients were involved.

Bickelhaupt is accused of issuing prescriptions from June 2006 to September 2007, during which prosecutors said he illegally issued 120 prescriptions, which included Oxycodone, amphetamines, Methadone, morphine, Hydrocodone, Tylenol No. 3, Ambien, Xanax, Provigil and Valium.

In one instance, prosecutors said he prescribed amphetamine and Tylenol No. 3 to individuals for use during parties at his Topeka home, where he also claimed to have a private practice.

“The amphetamine was so they could stay up late and the Tylenol No. 3 was to ease the discomfort of hangovers and withdrawal from using cocaine,” said Jim Cross, U.S. attorney spokesman.