Oklahoma doctor charged with murder after 5 patients overdose on opioids

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MIDWEST CITY, Okla. -- An Oklahoma doctor has been charged with five counts of second-degree murder after she allegedly over-prescribed large amounts of narcotics to patients, KFOR reports.

Dr. Regan Nichols was arrested Friday and released from Oklahoma County Jail on $50,000 bail, according to the Washington Post.

Authorities say between January 2010 and October 2014, 10 of Nichols’ patients died from overdosing on combinations of narcotics prescribed by her. The attorney general has not filed charges on the other five deaths.

The charges are for the deaths of five women, ranging in age from 21 to 55 years old. Some died within days of visiting her clinic.

"One of the individuals who was prescribed 510 pills died the same day the prescription was filled," Attorney General Mike Hunter told KFOR.

Three of the victims were prescribed a deadly combination of three drugs.

"A deadly three-drug combination of narcotic opioid pain reliever, an anti-anxiety drug and a muscle relaxer," Hunter said.

“Each one of the individuals was prescribed an excessive amount of medication the same months of their deaths which were all the result of multi-drug toxicity, according to the Oklahoma Examiner’s reports."

One of her patients, Martina Troy, called the arrest a “relief.”

Although she is now clean and sober, Troy said she became addicted to the opioids and told investigators about her worries.

Troy told KFOR that while under Nichols' care, there were months she "got over 500 pills."

The epidemic of heroin and opioid-related overdoses nationwide is rising, and Colorado ranks second nationwide for opioid abuse.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 869 people died from opioid overdoses in Colorado in 2015.

In 2015, opioids killed more than 33,000 people nationwide, with the number of people killed by overdose in the United States quadrupling since 1999, the CDC said.

Drug overdoses take more lives every year than traffic accidents, according to government statistics.

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