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Midwest City Doctor Arrested In Connection With 5 Prescription Opioid Deaths

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Oklahoma County Jail, via KOKH
Dr. Regan Nichols

A Midwest City doctor has been arrested on five counts of second-degree murder for prescribing unnecessary and lethal amounts of drugs to her patients.

 

The Oklahoma Attorney General’s office issued a warrant for Dr. Regan Nichols on Friday and she was arrested at her home in Midwest City later that day.

 

According to an affidavit by Agent William Diaz of the state Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Control, ten of Nichols’ patients died from overdoses of drugs she prescribed from January 2010 to October 2014. She has been charged in connection with five of those deaths.

 

Nichols prescribed more than 1,800 opioid pills to the five alleged victims in the same months that they died. She also prescribed a lethal mixture of an opioid pain reliever, an anti-anxiety drug and a muscle relaxer to three patients.

 

The state Medical Examiner’s office determined that all five deaths were due to multi-drug toxicity.

Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter condemned Nichols’ alleged actions.

“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,” he said in a press release.

Data from the state Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Control Prescription Monitoring Program revealed that Nichols prescribed more than three million dosage units of controlled dangerous substances from Jan. 1,  2010 to Oct. 7, 2014. Those substances included hydrocodone and oxycodone, which are common prescription opioids.

A concerned former patient approached law enforcement about Nichol’s actions in May 2014, after which the state Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Control began investigating her, according to the affidavit by William Diaz, which was provided by the state Attorney General’s office.

In a March 2015 interview with Diaz, Nichols admitted to prescribing highly abused drugs to patients with known histories of drug abuse.

On Sept. 17, 2015, the Oklahoma State Board of Osteopathic Examiners placed Nichols on a five-year probation, forbidding her from prescribing, administering or dispensing controlled dangerous substances.

That October, she willingly surrendered her registrations with the Drug Enforcement Administration and Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics. All individuals who handle controlled substances for legitimate purposes must hold a registration with the DEA. Prescribers or dispensers of controlled drugs in Oklahoma must also be registered with the state Bureau of Narcotics.

If convicted of the charges, Nichols could face a sentence of 10 years to life in prison.

 

As of Friday, no attorney was listed for Nichols on court documents. She could not be reached for comment.

 

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