By Associated Press - Tuesday, September 15, 2015

LAWRENCE, Mass. (AP) - A high school teacher has pleaded not guilty to illegally giving prescription drugs last year to a student on a swim team she coached.

Twenty-eight-year-old Elizabeth Backler of Newburyport was arraigned Tuesday on charges of distribution of the painkiller oxycodone and the anti-anxiety medication diazepam. She was released and ordered to stay away from that student and have no unsupervised contact with children under 18.

Prosecutor Heidi Mader said Backler gave the pills to a 16-year-old girl for shoulder pain. Mader said Backler acknowledged being too involved with the student but said there was no inappropriate contact.

Backler was then a North Andover High School teacher and coach. She is on leave from her current job at Amesbury Innovative High School.

Backler’s lawyer said she is a highly regarded teacher who maintains her innocence.



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