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Doctor charged in overdose deaths of 5 patients

Regan Nichols is accused of prescribing controlled dangerous substances to patients without a legitimate medical need


By Kyle Schwab
The Oklahoman

OKLAHOMA COUNTY, Okla. — A Midwest City doctor was charged Friday in the overdose deaths of five patients, accused of unlawfully prescribing excessive amounts of prescription drugs to the victims.

Regan Ganoung Nichols, 57, is charged in Oklahoma County District Court with five counts of second-degree murder. Nichols, an osteopathic physician, is accused of prescribing controlled dangerous substances to patients without a legitimate medical need and in quantities and circumstances that disregarded human life.

Reports say as many as 10 of Regan Ganoung Nichols' patients have died from overdoses (Photo/ Oklahoma County Police Dept.)
Reports say as many as 10 of Regan Ganoung Nichols' patients have died from overdoses (Photo/ Oklahoma County Police Dept.)

“I appreciate the effort from everyone who worked as a team and put this case together,” Attorney General Mike Hunter said. “The dangers associated with opioid drugs have been well documented and most doctors follow strict guidelines when prescribing opioids to their patients.

"Nichols prescribed patients, who entrusted their well-being to her, a horrifyingly excessive amount of opioid medications. Nichols' blatant disregard for the lives of her patients is unconscionable.”

According to investigators, Nichols prescribed hundreds of pills to the victims.

"Nichols prescribed extremely large quantities of controlled substances in suspect combinations, including the most abused and sought after prescription drugs on the street, to numerous patients with very little medical examination," an agent with the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Control reported in a court affidavit.

Nichols was placed on five years probation by the Oklahoma State Board of Osteopathic Examiners following a hearing in September 2015 related to complaints of six patient deaths, according to the affidavit. While on probation she cannot prescribe, administer or dispense controlled dangerous substances.

The five deaths she is charged in occurred between 2010 and 2013. Three of the five individuals were prescribed a deadly three drug combination of a narcotic opioid pain reliever, an anti-anxiety drug and a muscle relaxer. Investigators called the combination "the holy trinity" for addicts.

As many as 10 of her patients have died from overdoses, the agent reported in the affidavit.

An Oklahoma County judge has issued a warrant for her arrest. Nichols will be held in lieu of $50,000 bond.

Copyright 2017 The Oklahoman

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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