WOBURN, Mass. (CBS/AP) — A Massachusetts doctor charged in the death of a woman who overdosed on opioids he prescribed has pleaded not guilty to involuntary manslaughter.

Dr. Richard Miron appeared in Middlesex Superior Court on Thursday and was allowed to remain free on his own recognizance. The state attorney general’s office says it’s the first time the state has charged a doctor with manslaughter for an opioid overdose death.

Prosecutors say 50-year-old Michelle Craib died in March 2016 at her Lowell home from acute intoxication due to the combined effects of several drugs Miron prescribed, including fentanyl and morphine.

Dr. Richard Miron (WBZ-TV)

Authorities say the 76-year-old Dracut doctor continued to prescribe large doses of opioids to her even though he knew she previously overdosed on opioids he prescribed.

An attorney for Miron released a statement that said, in part: “Dr. Miron is a well-respected medical professional who, after training and serving five years in the U.S. Army, practiced Internal Medicine for nearly a half-century – in Chelmsford, Lowell, and Dracut – before retiring earlier this year.”

The statement also said Miron had never faced a formal complaint of any kind and “The abuse of opioids is a very real and serious issue but it is critical that in seeking to address the issue and identify actual wrongdoers, prosecutors not paint with the same brush treaters who have spent their work lives helping others in a fashion consistent with good and reasonable practice.”

Miron has suspended his practice in an agreement with state officials.

(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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