Midwest City Doctor Arrested In Connection With 5 Prescription Opioid Deaths

The Oklahoma attorney general has charged a 67-year-old doctor with five counts of second-degree murder, accusing her of prescribing excessive amounts of "dangerous" medications to patients "without legitimate medical need" and causing the deaths of at least five patients. She also died from "multi-drug toxicity".

The probable cause affidavit stated that Nichols signed off on prescriptions for more than 3 million dosage units of various controlled substances from January 1, 2010 to October 7, 2014. "Nichols prescribed patients, who entrusted their well-being to her, a horrifyingly excessive amount of opioid medications".

A state investigation also found that Nichols prescribed more than three million doses of controlled unsafe drugs from 2010-2014.

She could not be reached for comment.

Pictured, Dr Regan Nichols an Oklahoma doctor prescribing more than 1800 opiod pills to five patients that didn't even need them, leading to their deaths?

On Friday, June 23, the Oklahoma County court issued a warrant to have Nichols arrested.

The five charges are related to the deaths of five women, ranging from 21-years-old to 55-years-old, each prescribed hundreds of pills.

To combat the opioid epidemic, prosecutors have sued doctors for prescribing too many painkillers or drugs to patients who later died from overdoses.

Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter refers to them as "a deadly, three-drug combination of narcotic opioid pain reliever, an anti-anxiety drug and a muscle relaxer". Prescribers or dispensers of controlled drugs in Oklahoma must also be registered with the state Bureau of Narcotics. "Nichols' blatant disregard for the lives of her patients is unconscionable", he said in a press release. It is unclear whether Nichols has hired an attorney yet.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of deaths linked to prescription opioid overdoses have quadrupled since 1991.

The Oklahoma State Board of Osteopathic Examiners stripped the doctor of her ability to prescribe controlled risky substances in September of 2015. Last year, a Los Angeles-area doctor who was convicted of second-degree murder for prescribing painkillers that killed three patients, received a sentence of 30 years to life in prison for his actions. The suit says the pharmaceutical companies are profiting from the epidemic and "decimating communities across the nation's 14 counties in the state". She went on to surrender her credentials to the Drug Enforcement Administration and Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics.

The lawsuits have different aims, although attorneys in the Missouri case say they want state legislatures to more closely monitor prescription drug use. In 2012, Nichol's patient Sheila Bartels turned up dead after overdosing on painkillers.

  • Joanne Flowers